Karamarinov closes 2020 e-Convention with an optimistic message for 2021

2020 European Athletics e-Convention
Harry Tiits

The three-day 2020 European Athletics e-Convention was directed from Tallinn, reaching all 50 participating European Athletics Member Federations

Today (16) marked the conclusion of a successful three-day 2020 European Athletics e-Convention which World Athletics President Sebastian Coe and European Athletics Interim President Dobromir Karamarinov had opened together on Wednesday.

In his closing speech to the 50 Member Federations, Karamarinov launched his vision for the sport as Interim President with a paper entitled ‘Leading European Athletics Forward in Challenging Times.’

Referring to four key pillars that support his vision in his closing address, Karamarinov spoke of “being brave, clever and careful” and being “led by science” to deliver a full complement of European Athletics competitions in 2021, supporting European Athletics Member Federations “in any way we can” and to “build a stronger athletics landscape in Europe.”

The full version of the policy paper can be found here.

The final day also featured an address from European Athletics CEO Christian Milz as part of the Member Federations Leaders Forum reviewing the year and its unique challenges as well as an insight into European Athletics planning for the future, particularly from a financial and logistics perspective.

"This has been the most challenging year in the 50-year history of European Athletics yet I have been amazed at the performances of the likes of Karsten Warholm, Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Mo Farah and Sifan Hassan as well as many others, who have still set European and world records in what has been a weird season," commented Milz.

"However, I am looking forward to 2021 when we have to deliver our main product and that is our championships," he added. 

European Athletics Vice President and Event and Competition Commission Chair Cherry Alexander then updated the e-Convention participants on the safety and sanitary plans for the Torun 2021 European Athletics Indoor Championships.

As a follow-up to the inaugural Athletes Forum which took place on Wednesday, European Athletics Athletes Committee members Hannah England and Periklis Iakovakis also presented their findings from a recent and wide-ranging survey they conducted among elite athletes as well as taking questions from the online audience. 

In a busy week for European Athletics, the Executive Board met virtually earlier this week and the following decisions were taken:

- The first edition of the European Athletics Off-Road Running Championships in 2022 has been awarded to El Paso, Spain and the 2024 edition has been allocated to La Féclaz, France.

- The European 10,000m Cup will take place in Pacé, France in 2022, 2023 and 2024.

- The European Athletics Team Championships Super League on 19-20 June will not be taking place in Minsk, Belarus next June due to technical reasons. A new host city will be confirmed shortly. 

- The European Athletics Team Championships First League will be taking place in Cluj-Napoca, Romania on 19-20 June.

- The Executive Board approved the COVID-19 Sanitary Plan for the Torun 2021 European Athletics Indoor Championships in line with the ‘Leading European Athletics Forward in Challenging Times’ white paper.

These decisions further support Karamarinov’s vision of returning to athletics competitions as soon as is safely possible and with a packed and uninterrupted schedule of elite European Athletics events in 2021.

In his closing remarks, Karamarinov also thanked Member Federations for their tireless work and ingenuity this year in the face of unseen adversity and also thanked European Athletics staff, the Estonian Athletic Federation and everyone else involved for staging a successful, productive and insightful e-Convention.

The 2021 European Athletics Convention is due to take place in Lausanne, Switzerland next October.