The European Athletics U23 and U20 Championships in Tallinn were hugely successful and record-breaking championships both on and off the track with record participation numbers and live streaming figures two of the principal indicators of success.
In spite of the challenges caused by the pandemic, a record number of athletes participated in both events. A total of 1161 athletes travelled to the European Athletics U23 Championships from 8-11 July which surpassed the previous record total of 1089 athletes from Gavle 2019.
On a similar theme, 1226 athletes travelled to the European Athletics U20 Championships from 15-18 July. This eclipsed the previous record of 1151 athletes from Grosseto 2017.
European Athletics Interim President Dobromir Karamarinov said: ”First and foremost I would like to pay tribute to the Estonian Athletic Association and the Local Organising Committee for the amazing job they did in hosting two championships back-to-back. In addition to the scheduled organisation of the European Athletics U20 Championships, they also organised the U23 Championships at very short notice and delivered both competitions to the very highest of standards.
“We were able to provide the ideal stage for competition for these two age categories which are so important for the development of our sport in Europe, and in turn we witnessed some truly top class performances.”
There was extensive streaming of both championships through the European Athletics website courtesy of European Athletics’ long-time partner EBU.
As well as the main feed, their groundbreaking All Athletics platform also housed individual feeds dedicated to field events across the two championships which are available to watch on demand.
The live streaming figures follow the upward pattern of the Torun 2021 European Athletics Indoor Championships with record figures amassed in both events. Over 235,000 unique viewers tuned in for both events, handsomely surpassing the figures for the 2019 European Athletics U23 and U20 Championships at 150,000 and 188,000 unique viewers respectively.
This shows the continued demand for live athletics across the continent and demonstrates that age-group championships are an attractive product to athletics fans as well as being imperative stepping stones in the development of young athletes.
European Athletics CEO Christian Milz said: “The European Athletics U23 and U20 Championships in 2021 were not only an organisational feat by delivering two age category events back-to-back, but were also a record in terms of athlete numbers with approximately 1200 travelling athletes per competition proving a new record for both events.
“Off the track the events in Tallinn, Estonia also provided new highs with 238,000 unique users and over 900,000 views for the U23 Championships, and 236,000 unique users and 872,000 views for the U20 Championships, for the live stream and video on-demand supplied via the EBU’s All Athletics platform.”
More than half of European Athletics’ Member Federations had medals to celebrate in both championships. A total of 27 Member Federations won medals at the European Athletics U23 Championships with that figure rising to 29 for the U20 equivalent.
While the traditional superpowers of European Athletics dominate the medal table, there were notable firsts for some of the smaller countries in the Estonian capital.
Andorra won its first ever European medal at the U23 Championships courtesy of bronze from Nahuel Carabana in the 3000m steeplechase and Muhamet Ramadani won Kosovo’s first ever European title in athletics with gold in the shot put at the U20 Championships.
Also at the U20 Championships, high jumper Jonathan Kapitolnik won Israel’s first ever gold medal at the European Athletics U20 Championships and 16-year-old long jumper Jeremy Zammit became Malta’s first ever European U20 finalist in any event.