The Oakleigh Little Athletics Centre has a rich history and can boast some international success too. Since its inception in the late 1970’s, the club has produced some real stars including Margaret Satupai. In the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 seasons, Margaret set the Oakleigh club records in the U14 and U15 girls’ category in both shot put and discus. She went on to represent Oakleigh and Victoria at state and national levels; she has set Australian records and competed in the World Youth Games and Commonwealth Games, representing her native Samoa. We can even also lay claim to famous race walker Simon Baker, an Olympian and Commonwealth Games gold medalist (Edinburgh 1986). Simon was running around the Oakleigh track when “it was just a dustbowl.” Simon still lives in the area and sometimes pops in.
Currently the centre operates with about 130 athletes each season, so we are not a big club by any stretch of the imagination. But, we have been smaller and we nearly disappeared altogether in the not so distant past. Happily, these days we are stable and growing once more although we pride ourselves on the community, family atmosphere that is rather unique to our small club.
We are a centre whose values are those promoted by the Little Athletics organisation - - family fun and fitness. Most of our athletes go to the same local schools, kinders, Auskick centres, daycare centres, dance schools, swim schools etc. As a result, a lot of our families know each other from these other places because we are part of the local community. We have many really talented kids in our midst that are here to enjoy the events and do their best. It’s wonderful to see them all develop and grow over the years.
Our centre is very much focused on participation and this extends to the parents too. As a purely volunteer organisation, it’s all hands on deck every week to muck and do your bit because without the adults to guide the children around and to man the events, we just can’t run!