Glasgow has begun a 12-month countdown until the city co-hosts the 2018 European Championships, a new multi-sport event that will bring some of the continent’s leading athletes to Scotland.
The existing Europe-wide events for aquatics, cycling, gymnastics, rowing and triathlon will take place in and around one city for the first time from August 2-12 next year.
A female mascot was revealed this morning as the event’s official mascot, with organisers hoping to encourage more young women into sport.
Bonnie, a seal from Argyll, was unveiled exactly one year to the day that the inaugural championships kick-off.
Bonnie was introduced to an audience of children at the SEC along with Olympic champion gymnast and Glasgow 2018 ambassador Max Whitlock.
“Following on from the 2014 Games, we can expect Glasgow to put on a tremendous show,” said Aileen Campbell, minister for public health and sport.
“We have the expertise and talent in the city to host these big events.
“The European Championships is a new concept. It’s bringing together these sports to make much more of an impact in the sporting calendar in terms of viewing figures and public interest. Alongside that, we can expect a lot of domestic interest.
The minister added: “There’s a collaboration with other local authorities in the same way as we saw during the Commonwealth Games. Events will be taking place across the country.
“Events like this are hugely important to our economy. In terms of attracting visitors, the business opportunities they create, and the global attention they bring through television coverage.
“Glasgow is well placed to host major events like this. We already have the Emirates Arena and the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome and we’re continually striving to improve facilities. We’re about to open Scotland’s first dedicated para-sports centre in Largs, so there’s lots to be proud of. There’s still challenges ahead but we have to remind ourselves we haven the expertise and talent here already to put on good shows.”
Berlin’s Olympic Stadium will be the venue for the European Athletics Championships with the road races taking place in the German capital.
A new golf team championship will also be staged at the Gleneagles PGA Centenary Course as part of the biggest sporting event to be held in Scotland since the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
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.
The European artistic gymnastics will be staged at the SSE Hydro, while the rowing and triathlon races will take place at Strathclyde Country Park.