Ribeira Brava, on the Portuguese island of Madeira, will host both the European Combined Events Team Championships First and Second League competitions on 6-7 July 2019.
It is not the first time that Ribeira Brava has hosted both competitions, they stepped in at the last moment in 2014 to host the First League as well as the already-announced Second League – having also hosted the Second League in 2011 and 2013 – after political circumstances meant that the event had to be moved from original hosts Ukraine.
The success of having both leagues staged together for the first time, with obvious cost-effective benefits, has developed into a trend and both leagues have been staged at the same venue ever since with Inowroclaw, Poland, and the Spanish town of Monzon following in Ribeira Brava’s footsteps in 2015 and 2017 and taking on the responsibility of playing host to two leagues.
This year, the competitions will be staged at the Ribeira Brava's Centro Desportivo da Madeira, which was built in 2007 and can boast of a 2300-capacity grandstand in a facility of over 60,000m2.
Picturesquely nestling alongside one of Madeira's famous volcanic – but extinct – mountains, in addition to a modern athletics stadium with full sporting, medical and technical facilities, alongside the competition area are two football fields – one grass and one synthetic – which provide more-than-adequate space for athletes to warm up or relax between their individual events.
Almost perfect weather can also be predicted with the average temperatures in July oscillating between 23 degrees Celsius during the day to 17 degrees at night; and rain in Madeira in July is almost unheard of.
The competition in both leagues is expected to be fierce.
In 2017, less than 2000 points covered the top five teams in the First League, a relatively small amount taking into consideration the scoring system of combining the scores to each nation’s top three decathletes and heptathletes.
It could be an intriguing and engaging battle for promotion. Poland were relegated from the Super League in 2017 but historically they have proven they can more than hold their own at this level by getting promoted in 2015 while Sweden and Finland were within touching distance of getting promoted in 2017 but eventually finished third and fourth.
Czech Republic surprised everyone in 2017 when they finished down in fifth place in the First League but with their history of producing multi-event exponents, they will certainly be looking to improve on that showing this time around while Lithuania showed enough strength in depth when winning the Second League in 2017 to suggest that they could also be battling for a place in the top half of the First League and maybe promotion.
Should they be re-instated for international competition in time for this competition, 2014 and 2015 Super League winners Russia will also compete in the First League in 2019.
Hosts Portugal were relegated from the First League in 2017 and will compete in the Second League competition but with local support behind them, they can be expected to challenge strongly to regain their place, along with the other 2017 relegated team Romania.