So, we sent Stuart Weir to the European Team Championships. Stu was wary of this assignment, because it involved going to France, and that wine and cheese really worries Stuart. But, we had a long conversation, and I reminded him that France has a new President, and he likes the Scots, well, for now. In all candor, I really like Lille, and have found the food pleasant, the walks full of historical sites and people speak to me (in French).
Enjoy Stuart’s thoughtful explanation of the European Team Championships.
The European Team Championships take place this weekend. The Super League which consists of the top 12 nations in Europe competes in Lille, France and the smaller countries in Leagues 1-3 at different venues. However, with Russia suspended only 11 countries are in Lille. The format of the Super league is 20 events for men and 20 for women, one athlete from each of 11 countries. With 11 points for the winner and 1 point for 11th place, the team with most points wins.
The competition has existed in its present form since 2009, with a forerunner called the European Cup running from 1965-2008, initially every 2-3 years and then since 1997 every year. In the early days with only the Olympics and the European Championships – each every four years – the competition had a more significant place in the calendar. As the calendar has become fuller the event has struggled to attract the best athletes.
At the end of the second day Germany led with 166 points, Poland second on 149.5 and Great Britain third on 144.50 and hosts France fourth on 134 but oh dear, how different it could have been if the GB 4 by 100 relay team (Rio bronze medallists) had not dropped the baton.
GB won six events
Men’s 100m – Harry Aikines-Aryeetey 10.21 (into a -0.7 wind).
Men’s 400 – Dwayne Cowan 45.46
Men’s 400H – Jack Green 49.47
Men’s 4 by 100 in 38.08
Men’s long jump – Dan Bramble 8.00m
Women’s 400H – Eilidh Doyle 54.60.
Ironically Germany won only two events – the women’s 3000 SC and the women’s 4 by 100 – but accumulated their points by consistent placings throughout.
There are a few quaint rules in order to keep the competition moving. Pole Vaulters, for example, are only allowed to jump 7 times – which makes deciding when to start your competition more difficult that usual. It also means that athletes have to stop after 7 even if they have not had three failures – which takes a little head getting round.
Overall it was a full and exciting day