Just a week on from a fantastic European Championships, the Junior European Cup in Kupiskis offers a glimpse of the ETU’s commitment to developing triathlon in emerging federations.
Over 80 athletes from Latvia, Belarus, Armenia and host nation Lithuania, will compete against athletes from more developed Federations such as Israel, Great Britain and Russia.
The importance of these athletes competing in European Cups is not lost on Maria Cherkovskaya-Tarasevich, Secretary General of the Belarus Federation.
She said: “This race is a very nice chance for our Junior leader, Aliaksandr Dakhno, to get ETU ranking points. For the others, it’s a good opportunity to get practice in races on the international level.”
Dakhno received a scholarship grant from the ETU as part of their athlete development program and he finished a credible 32nd (out of 79 athletes) at the European Championships in Alanya.
“This will be the first international race for Henadzi Semashka, who won the Junior category in our National Championships last week. He's applying for the National Center of Olympics Training Program this year so it’s very important to show a good result in Kupiskis.” added Cherkovskaya-Tarasevich.
“Tatsiana Luksha will also represent our country in the Junior women category and she's very excited about it as it’s her first international level race.”
Armenia will have three athletes competing, making their debut in International competition. Yurik Grigoryan, Abel Manukyan.
Latvia bring a squad of six athletes to Kupiskis and Secretary General Kārlis Kalniņš said: “Our juniors want to try compete with other youths from Europe. Some of them have Latvian competition, some Baltic countries experience. It is very good that they could participate in such a high level competition just one hour from their homes. It is almost like participating at a home competition.
“All of our athletes participated in Latvian Youth Olympic games on 13 June. These games organized by the Latvian Olympic Committee every two years to promote the Olympic sport in Latvian country.”
Darius Borisas, of the LOC in Kupiskis, said: The preparation is going well, we started to project our next big event immediately after the last one, so all the organising has gone well and we hope that we will see a big event on Saturday.
“Kupiskis has held Triathlon events for 10 years now, and each year we try to make our course better for competition and sportsmen. We had some
advice from last year's technical delegate and we have listened and we try to make it competitive.
“Of course triathlon in Lithuania is not as big as in other countries so every single international race is very important for us. It is the best chance for our sportsmen to size them up with the best athletes from all across the Europe.”
Last year in Kupiskis, Kaidi Kivioja (EST) and Ivan Menshykov (UKR) were victorious.
In the Junior Women’s race, Ivana Kuriackova (SVK) would be heavily fancied for victory having claimed two wins already in 2013. Israel’s Avitai Gez finished 16th in Alanya.
In the Junior Men’s race, Alexey Kalistratov was runner up here last year and also recorded a podium finish in Brno earlier this year. He finished 22nd at the recent European Championships.
Andrey Moisseenko has three career Junior podiums to his name but suffered a DNF in Alanya and this will be a great opportunity for him to bounce back with a positive performance.
Whatever the result on Saturday, this Junior European Cup represents an important step in the development of all the athletes and Federations competing.
Picture: Kaidi Kivioja (EST) wins the Junior European Cup in Kupiskis last year.
Ivan Menshykov of Ukraine and Kaidi Kivioja of Estonia were the winners of the first European Cup to be held in Lithuania. Ten countries were represented and both fields were largely made up from Baltic and Eastern European nations -…01 Jul, 2012
The European Triathlon Union returns to the Baltics this weekend with the Junior European Cup in Kupiskis, Lithuania. Following the successful ETU Baltic Championships last year, the ETU are delighted to once again support and…26 Jun, 2012