Torun takes over the baton as preparations for 2021 get underway

Glasgow 2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships
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Poland's victorious 4x400m quartet after winning at the Glasgow 2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships

Preparations are starting to gear up for the Torun 2021 European Athletics Indoor Championships, which will occupy its now-traditional place on the calendar during the first weekend of March, these championships taking place on 5-7 March 2021.

The 36th edition of the championships will return to Poland after a 46-year hiatus, the only previous time being when Katowice staged the 1975 championships.

However, there is no shortage of experience in the Torun Local Organising Committee as the Arena Torun has staged a high-profile annual international indoor athletics meeting since it was opened in August 2014. Since 2017, the Copernicus Cup meeting has been part of the IAAF World Indoor Tour.

In addition, the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships were staged on Sopot, approximately 200 kilometres from Torun, and the Polish federation has also been a very active Member Federation on the continental stage as the host country for a series of European Athletics competitions in recent years, notable the 2019 European Team Championships Super League in Bydgoszcz.

Capacity crowds should also be assured at the Arena Torun during the three days of competition.

Athletics has a strong and long tradition in the city with the annual Memorial Grzegorz Dunecki meeting celebrating its 41st edition this summer. Indoor and outdoor Polish national championships are also regularly staged in the city and the Arena Torun was also the venue for the World Masters Indoor Championships in March.

Poland has also been among the powerhouses of European athletics nations in recent years and topped the medal table at the last two European Athletics Indoor Championships as well as finishing second at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships.

Poland had no less than five winners in Glasgow earlier this year with Marcin Lewandowski memorably holding off Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen to take gold in the 1500m.

He was accompanied to the top of the podium in the Scottish city by pole vaulter Pawel Wojciechowski – who triumphed in a thrilling contest with his compatriot Piotr Lisek – shot putter Michal Haratyk, 60m winner Ewa Swoboda, and their women’s 4x400m team.

All four individual winners have already said they aim to defend their titles on home soil in front of their family and friends.

In April 2018, at the time when Torun was announced as the winning candidate for the 2021 championships,  European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen commented: “European Athletics is delighted to have the opportunity to work with the city of Torun over the next three years to deliver what I am confident will be world-class championships.”

Krzyszof Wolsztynski, CEO of the Torun Organising Committee, added: “This is a great moment for athletics and sport in general in Poland. It’s been over four decades since Poland last hosted the European Athletics Indoor Championships and we were determined to bring them back in 2021. I think I can say Torun will not disappoint.”

With a population of approximately 200,000, Torun is situated between Gdansk to the north and Warsaw to the southeast.

The city is one of the oldest in Poland and its medieval old town was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. “We look forward to welcoming all of Europe to our picturesque medieval home in 2021,” said the Mayor of Torun Michal Zaleski. “Each visitor to our beautiful city will experience not only our warm hospitality but also our love for sport. Together we will celebrate the accomplishments of these great athletes in a festival-like atmosphere. We can’t wait."