With memories still fresh of a sun-soaked Glasgow hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2014, the city is once again preparing to host a major sporting showcase. And this time age-group triathletes could be invited to join the party.
Announced in March 2015, the inaugural European Sport Championships have been created by the continental governing bodies of athletics, cycling, rowing and swimming, plus the European Triathlon Union.
The aim of the new four-yearly event (not to be confused with the rival European Games) is to ‘bring together the existing individual European Championships into one co-ordinated multisport concept’, with Berlin (athletics) and Glasgow (triathlon, cycling, rowing, gymnastics, aquatics and golf) announced as the co-hosts for the 1-12 August 2018 showcase.
“This is a really exciting step forwards for our sport,” said ETU President Renato Bertrandi. “We can anticipate having not only a domestic European audience but viewers from around the world. Our European athletes will have the chance to compete on a challenging course and to be seen globally. Instead of a standalone event, we’ll be part of an engaging programme of sports, which will enable greater media coverage than ever before.”
The Commonwealth Games triathlon received a significantly larger worldwide TV audience than that year’s ITU World Champs, even though major triathlon nations such as Spain, the USA and Germany were absent from Glasgow.
Where triathlon differs from the other elite European Championships is that age-group athletes race over the same weekend and on the same course as the elites. So the 2018 Glasgow games could represent a break between the pro and age-group triathletes for one of the rare occasions in the European Championship’s 30-year history… or it could offer the tantalising prospect of the finest age-group triathletes being the only amateurs racing at the Games.
A decision on any age-group involvement in Glasgow is due to be made imminently. If the amateurs are not to be included, the ETU will need to find a host for its age-grouper Euros in 2018. This year’s Euros are in Lisbon, with Austria hosting the 2017 edition.