The international governing body of veteran athletics was the World Association of Veteran Athletes (WAVA) – now named World Masters Athletics (WMA).
Any country, subject to meeting established criteria, may become affiliated to WMA.
Administration of WMA is the responsibility of a Council consisting of its President, Vice Presidents, Secretary, Treasurer, Delegates from regions, and two other appointees: a Women’s Representative and an IAAF Representative.
The Council is elected at a General Assembly of Affiliates, held every two years in conjunction with the WMA Stadia Championships.
WMA today is a strong organisation with considerable and increasing responsibilities. The costs of running such an organisation are high, and are basically funded by levies on competitors at WMA Championships.
There are also six regional bodies – North America, South America, Asia, Europe, Africa, and Oceania.
OMA Affiliates have been strong supporters of WMA throughout its existence, and a number of their members have given considerable service to WMA over the years. WMA has a close relationship with the world athletics body IAAF.
Older athletes had been continuing to compete in open athletics over the years with some notable successes, but it was not until 1972 that positive moves began towards what was to become the very large veteran athletic movement we know today.
In 1968, road running became the first international veteran organisation when a body with the initials ‘IGAL’ was formed. This body held regular international marathon and road races until it was eventually absorbed into WMA, with the first WMA Road Championships being held in Birmingham, England in 1992.
Groups of veteran athletes were gradually forming associations over a period of time. Following the 1972 Olympics in Munich, groups of athletes from the USA, Canada and Australia took part in the first truly international veteran track and field meeting at Crystal Palace, London, and later visited other European countries. Their enthusiasm led to the first World Veteran Athletic Championships being held in Toronto, Canada in August, 1975, organised by the Canadian Masters Association. At that meeting a steering committee was formed to create a formal world association, and WAVA was officially formed at the second Championships at Gothenburg, Sweden in 1977.
WMA Championships for both stadia and non-stadia events have been held every two years since their inception. Track and Field Championships have been held in the Oceania Region in 1981 (Christchurch, New Zealand), 1987 (Melbourne, Australia) and 2001 (Brisbane, Australia). The 2003 Championships were in Carolina, Peurto Rico, 2005 in San Sebastian, Spain, 2007 Riccione, Italy, 2009 Lahti, Finland, 2011 Sacramento, USA. Perth, Australia has won the right to host the 2016 Championships, following Porto Alegre, Brazil (2013) and Lyon, France (2015).
WMA Indoor Championships were introduced in 2004 at Sindelfingen, Germany and have continued in Linz, Austria 2006, Clermont- –Ferrand, France 2008, Kamloops, Canada 2010, Jyvaskyla, Finland 2012 and will be in Budapest, Hungary in 2014. The IGAL road championships were held in Palmerston North, New Zealand in December 1980. Manukau City, Auckland, New Zealand hosted the 2004 WMA non-stadia championships.
The Oceania Association of Masters Athletes was Incorporated in the Australian Capital Territory (AUS) in 2010 and the name changed to Oceania Masters Athletics Inc. (OMA) in 2012.