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The Amateur Athletic Association of England (formerly the Amateur Athletic Association) or AAA (pronounced 'three As') is the oldest national governing body for athletics in the world, having been established on 24 April 1880. In the past, it has effectively overseen athletics throughout Britain. Now, it supports regional athletic clubs and works to develop amateur athletics in England alone. This includes the English Cross Country Association.
Three men from Oxford University were responsible for the founding of the AAA – Clement Jackson, Montague Shearman and Bernhard Wise. The first AAA Championships were held on the 3 July 1880 at Lillie Bridge. Dame Marea Hartman was the first woman president of the 'AAA' when she was appointed in 1991. The AAA of England was formed in 1991 following the merger of the previous AAA and the Women's AAA (formed in 1922).
The AAA Championships (widely regarded as the de facto British national championships) have been held annually since 3 July 1880 (with breaks for the two world wars). The 2006 AAA Championships were incorporated, along with the UK Championships, within the Norwich Union European Trials – with the first two eligible UKA elite standard athletes in each event qualifying for the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team to take part in the European Championships. England Athletics are reviving the AAA Championships in 2009 as a two-day competition held after the World Championships in Athletics.