The European Team Championships, whose ticket office has been open to the general public since 1 December, are a great athletics tradition with a collective format. We give you the low-down on the ingredients that make up a successful formula.
The European Athletics Team Championships are the heirs of the European Athletics Cup, which is what the event was known as from its creation back in 1965 through to 2008. At that time, the event crowned two winners: one from the men’s ranking, the other from the women’s ranking. In this way, France’s men’s team took the win on two separation occasions during the 2003 and 2006 editions. Since 2009, the new formula is mixed, with a single ranking, and the best result by the French team to date
is third place, which they secured in 2015 in Cheboksary (Russia). The reigning champion is Russia.
In past editions, France has hosted the competition five times, during which time it went by the name of the European Cup: in Nice in 1975, in Lille (already!) in 1995, in Paris in 1999 and in Annecy in 2002 and 2008.
Like the Interclubs, and the former international matches between nations (often two, three or four), the European Athletics Team Championships is based on the compilation of points collected by the athletes during each event. In this way, each of the teams has one representative in each of the thirty-six individual events on the programme: running - 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1,500m, 3,000m, 5,000m, 100m hurdles (110m hurdles for men), 400m hurdles and 3,000m steeplechase, jumping - pole vault, long jump, high
jump and triple jump, and throwing - shot put, javelin, hammer and discus. Four relay races are also contested over the course of the weekend, with two 4x100m and two 4x400m.
Each athlete scores a number of points according to their ranking at the end of their event (and not their performance): the winner scores twelve points, second place earns eleven points and so on down to the twelfth placed athlete who scores one point. A retirement, disqualification or the lack of a measured result in the competition amounts to no points being awarded.
In total, fifty European nations are competing in these European Team Championships. However, not all of them are participating in the same venue. Indeed, there are four divisions, with a system of promotions and relegations from one year to the next. The top twelve nations on the continent will come together for the “Superleague” and it’s in Lille, France, that the 2017 edition will be hosted on 24 and 25 June 2017.
The nations that will be represented in the northern hemisphere are as follows: Belarus, Czech Republic, Germany, UK, Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain, Ukraine, Holland and France. The presence of Russia is subject to a future decision to reinstate the Russian federation by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).