ETU to launch the Next Generation Challenge for athletes between the ages of 15 and 19.
Since Covid-19 started having its massive impact on the world we have set about aiming to preserve the motivation, health and esteem of our youth and junior athletes. All of our countries have been affected differently but we wanted to offer an opportunity to all the ETU countries to come together and share perspectives on how to put in place some support for our athletes in the absence of normal training, camps and competitions.
The ETU Next Generation Challenge aims to bring together all the National Federations in a competitive initiative but one we can deliver safely in our local, regional or national environments. This was an initiative that was started by coaches from several national federations and now has the support and collaboration of the ETU. The project provides a short-term goal and subsequent training preparation for youth and juniors and contributes in the creation of a system that can be shared and used as a reference for European coaches and athletes in their preparation and development.
The physical tests of a 400m swim and a 3000m run are classic indicators of an athlete’s aerobic capacities and most likely all of us will have background data of current and historical athletes from many generations. Whilst there is no cycling in this Challenge, this is mainly due to practicalities of uniform measurement, these qualities are very important aspects of an athletes profile – especially in the modern formats of the racing – Super sprint relay formats through to Olympic distances.
We hope that the challenge can give our youth and junior athletes a clear performance focus in a very unclear time of life. We hope that it can demonstrate that in our sport the ability to collaborate across different countries and cultures is not only possible, but it can really be positive and also grow the sport.
The ETU president Renato Bertrandi also see the opportunity and potential of this project;
“It is really true that in every crisis there are opportunities. In “normal” times, the idea to rank the young Athletes based on the Swim and Run performances would have been confined within the single National Federations. During these months, a consistent group of National Coaches involved in the Youth and Juniors activities started to organise regular meetings with the goal to share the difficulties created by the Pandemic. It was not about complaining, but to find solutions in order not to lose the momentum and the motivation at that critical age. The outcome is the interesting idea to create the ETU Next Generation Challenge that will include all the European Triathlon Federations that are willing to take part.
ETU is fully behind the idea. We will officially award the Challenge and we will give it the media attention that it deserves with weekly articles and interviews to the “leaders”.
Unfortunately, the 2020 Edition of the Youth Festival will not take place due to pandemic and the health risks connected: I am confident that this Challenge will help to keep our European young athletes focused and ready for the 2021 season. ETU is working to have, if the overall situation will allow, a Training Camp in the first part of the 2021 season and a forum open to the Coaches involved in the Youths and Juniors to exchange ideas to successfully restart the activities.
We will come through this together.”