European Athletics Interim President Dobromir Karamarinov and World Athletics President Sebastian Coe will deliver keynote speeches at the 2020 European Athletics e-Convention which begins tomorrow (14) and finishes on Friday.
Initially due to take place in person this week in Tallinn, the European Athletics Executive Board took the decision in June to take this year’s Convention online as a response to the coronavirus pandemic which has affected all areas of the sport.
Both Karamarinov and Coe will address the ‘new normal’ in their respective speeches to the 50 Member Federations who will be attending the e-Convention virtually across Europe.
Karamarinov will praise the ingenuity of Member Federations in the face of the pandemic but he will also emphasise how “a return to athletics in a pragmatic, safe and organised manner” and a full and uninterrupted calendar of European Athletics competitions is his priority as Interim President for 2021.
“So far, European Athletics has reacted strongly in order to protect our sport and our athletes. But now we must plan a return to athletics in a pragmatic, safe and organised manner. We must return to events as best we can and put our athletes back at the heart of our sport,” said Karamarinov ahead of the e-Convention.
Coe’s keynote speech will focus on the topic of modernisation and how athletics needs to adapt in order to thrive in a post-pandemic world. “As a sport we are far too conservative. We must address this and challenge ourselves,” said Coe on the eve of the e-Convention.
A stimulating and action-packed three day programme will also feature an Athletes Forum for the first time. Olympic and European javelin champion Thomas Rohler is among the standout speakers on personal branding and sponsorship while World Athletics CEO Jon Ridgeon will speak on the subject of post and dual careers for elite athletes.
The programme also features the first ever Digital Forum which will discuss the future of data management in athletics and how new technology can be used to further promote athletics.
The three-day e-Convention will also be followed by a series of workshops in the weeks that follow which will address various projects and initiatives led by European Athletics, including I Run Clean, DNA and sustainability.