Organisers of the biggest sporting event to be staged in Scotland since the 2014 Commonwealth Games have promised an ‘unforgettable’ experience with 200 days to go until kick-off.
The 2018 European Championships, a new multi-sport event that will bring some of the continent’s leading athletes to Glasgow and other venues around the country, takes place from August 2-12.
The event sees existing Europe-wide competitions for aquatics, cycling, gymnastics, rowing and triathlon centred around one city for the first time. Around 3,000 athletes from 52 nations will take part across 12 venues, with some 8,000 officials and media representatives due to attend. A total of 1278 medals will be won across 151 medal events.
Track and field events will be held in Berlin as part of a new two-city approach designed to boost the profile of the championships.
Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “In just 200 days we will make sporting history on the global stage when we host the first ever European Championships and in Scotland’s Year of Young People, celebrate the outstanding spirit and contribution of our young people.
The feats of sporting skill and the cultural brilliance showcased at the Championships will inspire the whole country and allow Scotland and its young people to shine on the world stage.”
As part of the wider event, a new golf team championship will also be staged at the Gleneagles PGA Centenary Course in Perthshire, while the rowing and triathlon races will take place at Strathclyde Country Park.
The European Aquatic Championships will take place at the Tollcross international swimming centre in Glasgow, with diving events held at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh.
Leader of Glasgow City Council Susan Aitken, said: “The Glasgow 2018 European Championships promises to be a fantastic platform to inspire, engage and celebrate young people – from sports fans and athletes to artists, performers and volunteers. In 200 days Glasgow and Scotland will come alive with an unforgettable display of sport and culture that is a must-attend, must-watch event for 2018.”
Among the rising stars whose sporting ambitions are set to reach new heights in 2018 include 18-year-old Glaswegian BMX racer Mia Paton, who will benefit from the new Olympic-standard BMX track being built at Knightswood Park in the north-west of the city, which will host Europe’s best racers during the championships.
Fraser Lynes, a 14-year-old gymnast from East Ayrshire who studies and trains at Glasgow School of Sport, helped mark the 200 day countdown with a photocall in Glasgow.
The European Championships follow the success of the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow. The former contributed more than £740 million gross to the Scottish economy over the eight years from winning the bid to hosting the event.
It also supported on average 2,100 jobs each year from 2007 and 2014, including 1,200 on average in Glasgow, an offifical report found.
Around 70 per cent of contracts awarded by major sport events go to local companies, with infrastructure being the most valuable. But, as a briefing paper by Scottish Enterprise spells out, the range of businesses that are required to deliver these events include construction, food and drink, technology and IT, energy, transportation and logistics.