Stuart Weir is our European senior writer, and this is the intro to a series on the 2023 European Team Championships.
The European Teams Championship
The European Teams Championship is a simple concept. Each European Country enters one athlete in each discipline, and team points are awarded according to where athletes finish in their individual events. The event has evolved over the years from separate men’s and women’s to a combined competition which is now is now contested in three divisions.
Welcome to Bydgoszcz! photo by European Athletics
This will be my fifth time attending the event. Poland is (double) defending champions, having won in 2021 and 2019. Germany won in 2013, 2015, and 2017. GB’s best recent finish was third in 2021. Winning the competition reflects not just the strength in depth of the country’s team but also the country’s ability to persuade the top athletes to take part, as there is no prize money. Ekaterina Stefanidi told me in 2019 that she enjoyed representing her country, but “I am a professional athlete, and I should be paid.” Hard to argue with that view. That Poland is hosting the event for a third time in four years and has won the previous 2 is an indication that Polish Athletics takes the competition seriously and that Polish athletes support it, undoubtedly delighted to have the chance to compete in front of a home and vociferous crowd.
The 2023 Poland team includes two individual European champions from Munich last year in Pia Skrzyszowska (100m hurdles) and Wojciech Nowicki (hammer). Other world-class performers include Femke Bol, Miltiadis Tentoglou, Simon Ehammer, Pedro Pichardo,
In total, 11 individual European champions from Munich will be competing in Silesia. Other European champions in action on the men’s side include Italy’s Yemaneberhan Crippa (5000m), Finland’s Topi Raitanen (3000m steeplechase), Portugal’s (triple jump), Jessica Schilder and Wilma Murto.
The 16 countries in the first division are Poland, Italy, Great Britain & NI, Germany, Spain, France, Portugal, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Switzerland, Turkey, Finland, Sweden, Greece, Belgium, and Norway.
Division 1 is a three-day event, Friday to Sunday.