Attracting children and teenagers to athletics is essential, both for developing the stars of the future and for building the popularity of the sport.
Reaching out effectively to young people is also important because of athletics’ role in promoting active, healthy lifestyles and in the fight against obesity and related illnesses.
To engage Europe’s youth and keep them involved, athletics must offer a welcoming and supportive social environment, an appropriate, well-organised competition programme at the local, national and international levels, competent coaching and other high-quality services in partnership with clubs, schools, government ministries, sponsors and others.
Currently, Europe’s top young athletics prospects have the opportunity to develop their skills and experience through European Athletics’ programme of international championships for the U18 (formerly youth), U20 (formerly junior) and U23 age groups.
In 2016, European Athletics became the first World Athletics Area Association to stage a continental U18 championships with the the first edition in Tbilisi,Georgia. The host for this biennial championship in 2018 was the Hungarian city of Gyor and Rieti, Italy will stage the next championships from 26-29 August 2021.
Looking beyond the emerging elite talents, European Athletics also monitors the youth-oriented promotional and fitness programmes developed by our Member Federations and the World Athletics’ School and Youth activities in Europe – including the hugely popular Kids’ Athletics programme – and then helps promote the exchange of best practices to enhance their impact.
Our plans for the future are to assist the federations in their efforts to bring the benefits and values of athletics to an even wider audience by supporting the development of new ideas and partnerships