Age Group changes - implementation plan

In January, following a consultation process involving all Home Country Athletics Federations (HCAFs), UK Athletics’ decision to approve changes to the current competition age groups were announced.

As we move through the implementation phase of the project (ahead of the changes coming into effect in April 2026), England Athletics – along with other HCAFs – is continuing to consult with those within the sport to ensure that the changes are implemented as smoothly and effectively as possible.

This webpage contains all of the essential information on the process so far, details on the need for change, and what’s to come. You can scroll through or jump straight to each section using the links below.

Age Group changes process timeline

Age group process timeline

Why were these changes proposed?

"Grounded in a desire to support athletes with their progression through the sport": Dean Hardman explains why the age group changes were initially proposed.

"I agree with the group change for many reasons on a sporting level, especially as it puts us in line with international competition and supports the junior to senior transition in particular.

Additionally, considering the wider, holistic development of young people and other factors at play, the changes will hopefully prioritise athlete development and improve long-term retention of competitors."

Laura Weightman

How did the consultation process work?

An overview of how the consultation process into the age group changes worked, how it was conducted and what the outcomes were.

Read about Regional Open Forums

Athlete and parent feedback

"We've heard from a lot of athletes and their parents, advocating for these changes": a summary of the feedback that we have received from age group athletes themselves.

"Last year, when my daughter - who was an U17 athlete - needed to have her throws recorded in an U18 category to be considered for the Youth Commonwealth Games, it would have been a lot easier if competitions were actually for the U18 age group that were required.

With the competitions being for U17 and U20 we were having to contact organisers of the competitions to ask if they would allow her to compete in an U18 category to have her throws recorded correctly."

Lynn Jones

What about those against the changes?

Dean Hardman explains the reasons that some people have given for opposing the changes, and outlines our commitment to working alongside everyone within the sport to ensure effective implementation.

"We recognise that these changes haven't received universal approval, and will cause some issues. We're committed to working with everyone across our sport to implement these changes as smoothly as we can. The bottom line is, we wouldn't be doing this if there wasn't a strong belief that it is in the best, long-term interests of the sport."

Dean Hardman

What has happened after the changes were confirmed?

What has happened since January, and what's due to happen next? Dean Hardman outlines the next steps for the project.

Implementation timeline

Age group timeline

What happens next?

"We have challenges around recruiting and retaining young athletes": an overview of our plans to tackle the issue of participation drop-off among young athletes.

We hosted three webinars in March 2024 which addressed specific topics relating to the change. Each webinar focused on a different stakeholder group: athletes and parents; coaches; club officers, competition providers and officials.

Watch recordings of the webinars

Formal notice of General Meeting: June 2024

Regarding age group changes.

Read the full formal notice

Hear from athletes, coaches and parents

Quote from Laura Weightman
Quote from Scott Lincoln:
Quote from Matt Griffin
Quote from Neal Edwards

News stories: Age Group changes