Friday 30 December 2016

Image credit: European Athletics via Getty Images

While Berlin 2018 is expected to deliver a series of spectacular performances in the Olympic Stadium in August 2018 as part of the inaugural multisport European Championships, another sporting initiative will also take place in the German capital – the sixth European Athletics Young Leaders Forum.

The five-day educational event – which has previously taken place in Gothenburg (2006), Barcelona (2010), Helsinki (2012), Zurich (2014) and Amsterdam (2016) – aims to equip young people to design and deliver projects that benefit the grassroots of athletics and local communities.

Participants examine leadership, project management, sustainability, social inclusion, anti-doping, use of social media and the promotion of athletics.

Each European Athletics Member Federation is invited to send a young representative aged between 18 and 28 who is involved with the development of athletics in some way, whether that is as a volunteer, coach, official or administrator.

The Forum is timed to coincide with the European Athletics Championships – offering the additional attraction of evening visits to the stadium to watch the action from the vantage point of the athletes’ tribune.

During the recent Amsterdam 2016 European Athletics Championships, the Young Leaders Forum was officially opened by European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen. IAAF President Sebastian Coe also dropped by to speak to the 68 assembled young leaders at the Vrije University.

In his short address to the young leaders in Amsterdam in July, President Hansen described the Forum as “extremely important for the development of athletics.”

Christian Milz, European Athletics CEO, believes the Forum is a key activity for developing the European Athletics Young Leaders Community.

“The aim is to provide skills for participants and to motivate them and strengthen their networks,” he said.

“The young people have to prepare a project presentation which will showcase something that they have been directly involved in and during the Forum they will learn about funding and marketing and our expectation is that their projects will be much stronger once they return home."

See Coe Young Leaders Forum

IAAF President Sebastian Coe and European Athletics Vice President Jean Gracia with the participants in the Young Leaders Forum in Amsterdam. Image credit: European Athletics via Getty Images

After being interviewed by two members of the Young Leaders Forum future group, President Coe commented:

“They’re a really impressive group of young people - that’s hardly surprising; our sport does throw up smart, young, bright people.

"They’ve got some really thoughtful, very, very smart ideas about where the sport can go to, where it should go to, and actually, how we engage with more young people.

"And that’s the group of people that are probably going to be as insightful for us in that journey as any other group out there.

"When we talk about inspiring young people to be part of our sport, it’s not just simply about competition.

"I want them to become coaches, educators, teachers.

"I want them to understand the commercial side of our sport, whether they’re in a volunteer capacity or in a professional capacity to feel that our sport is something that they want to dedicate a chunk of their lives too.

"And that really is vital if we’re going to grow the sport globally and use best experience among young people to help us shape the future.

"It really goes hand-in-hand and sits at the heart of all the reforms that we’re discussing at the moment in terms of what our sport looks like in five years’ time."

Berlin/Glasgow 2018

In the summer of 2018 Europe’s top athletes will compete in the inaugural European Championships – an exciting new multi-sport event bringing together some of the continent’s leading sports.

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Tickets for both the Berlin 2018 European Championships and Glasgow 2018 European Championships are on sale.

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