2020 has been a year where the world changed drastically, we abruptly had to change plans made for the near future and cancel numerous races. Although this was the case, it was also a very enlightening experience on how the triathlon community can pull together in difficult times.
With many of the races cancelled some LOC’s got a short window after the first series of lockdown that took place in Europe and jumped at the opportunity to organize their events. This was a great mood booster among athletes as they had a few opportunities to put their hard work to the test. Europe Triathlon and the LOC’s managed to still realize 3 European Championships, 5 European Cups, and 2 European Regional Championships.
Herwig Grabner the Europe Triathlon Chair of the Race Commission stated his gratitude and appreciation that Europe Triathlon was able to host several events during this period. “We are very proud that we were able to hold races this year despite the difficult situation all over Europe. My very special thanks go to the organizers who dared to hold a competition in compliance with the strict Covid requirements. This was important to motivate our athletes and to show that our sport is still alive. Thanks also to the many Technical Officials who made this possible together with the excellent LOCs.”
The First event to take place after the first round of lock down in Europe was in Riga. Riga hosted the Baltic Championships and Junior European Cup. This was a welcome event and great experience. Aigars Strauss the president of the Latvian Federation commented on their experience; “for the 8th time, it was planned to organize the Riga Triathlon. COVID-19
posed a great challenge. First of all, we had to act in order to limit the risks of COVID- 19 as much as possible. There were several ideas, but we leaned towards a very famous place in Latvia and Riga. It was hard that we didn’t really know or would allow it in races that could be ridden, forbidden. Consequently, all planning took place only on paper, as it was not possible to even conclude cooperation agreements, because there was no clear legal basis. It was difficult to negotiate with sponsors because it was unknown there would or would not be a competition. We were supported by the Riga Forest Organization and the Riga City Council. The biggest challenge was to design the track to isolate it from the spectators as much as possible. I think we succeeded. We created the track in supersprint format, swimming in the lake,
cycling on the park roads and running around the stage with a beautiful finish on the stage. We are proud because as a sport we were the first to try the stage. Great nature, park, air quality. We think it is an ideal place for triathlon. As President, I am proud that we have had a great event. Of course, we wanted more participants, but we understand that COVID 19 introduced adjustments. Thanks to the Spanish Federation for coming to start in Riga. It was a great pleasure to meet team in person and spend them at the airport. Thanks to Maria and Herwig Grabner for coming and helping a lot with all the nuances of the competition. It was invaluable help.
Proud of triathlon.”
The chair of the Technical Committee of Europe Triathlon, Jorge Garcia, stated “ TD’s assigned to the ETU Events this year, have faced a new challenge, that was to be ready to implement the COVID measures, in order to make the events safe. It has not been easy, as TD’s had to be replaced in a short period of time, due to Travel restrictions; but all of them made a great effort to help the LOC’s at the events that took place, with the support of ETU Technical Committee and Executive Board. Europe has to be proud to have this level of commitment among the Technical Officials, to work strongly and with passion, to have the best events”
All in all we can conclude a challenging season with never before seen circumstances with a satisfied feeling. The fact that we can reflect on this today is as a result of the hard work and determination of each and every individual involved in the sport. Europe Triathlon would like to thank everyone for their hard work and determination to keep our sport alive! Additionally, we would like to extend a special thanks to World Triathlon for their support.