Exactly a year before the 23rd European Athletics Championships are due to get underway in Amsterdam, a senior official has praised the event’s organisers and described 2016 as “the perfect time” for the Netherlands to make its debut as host to the event.
Speaking at an Amsterdam 2016 press conference in the Dutch capital’s Olympic Stadium attended by Dutch athletes including last year's European 5,000 metres bronze medallist Susan Kuijken, European Athletics vice-president Jean Gracia commented: "It’s hard to believe that the Championships have never been staged in The Netherlands considering the strong athletics tradition that exists here.
"It is the perfect time for the Netherlands to host the event with the tremendous amount of young talented athletes who have recently emerged with Dafne Schippers, Eelco Sintnicolaas and Sifan Hassan leading the way.
“The Local Organising Committee is doing a great job to ensure that the quality of our flagship event is at the highest level.
“The Championships will be staged both inside and outside the Stadium and plans are at an advanced stage for a number of spectacular events to take place within the city during the championships.
"A mass participation race following the half marathon races will also be integrated as part of the competition programme.
"Now, with one year to go, I urge the Local Organising Committee to work hard in promoting the event across the Netherlands to athletics fans, athletics club members, sports fans and others to ensure as many tickets as possible are sold, as we want a stadium packed with spectators to inspire the athletes."
The national broadcasters for the event, Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS), are prepared to conduct what will be “a more than extensive operation, larger than the UEFA Euro 2000 and the inauguration of the King of Netherlands,” according to NOS senior producer Astrid Dutrenit.
The television crew will consist of 350 workers, seven vehicles for broadcasting and 75 cameras monitoring the championships, allowing for over 40 hours of television coverage over the five days of events.
To coincide with today's landmark, Ellen van Langen, the Barcelona 1992 800m Olympic champion, was announced as the Amsterdam 2016 event ambassador,
“I want to get as many people involved as possible, nationally and internationally, in this amazing event," she said.
"The figures speak for themselves with over 1,300 athletes and more than 1,500 volunteers expected.
“These Championships in the Olympic Stadium will be a unique experience, for the organisation, athletes, volunteers and the audience, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
March 2015: European Athletics extends TV and radio rights deal with European Broadcasting Union
August 2014: Amsterdam reveal plan to spread events at 2016 European Athletics Championships around Dutch capital
November 2011: Amsterdam awarded 2016 European Athletics Championships to boost Olympic bid
November 2011: Amsterdam, Istanbul and Split battling to host 2016 European Athletics Championships