ANYONE who experienced the atmosphere in Glasgow’s George Square during the Commonwealth Games will surely be looking forward to the 2018 European Championships. Glasgow is hosting the event with Berlin and, as with the Commonwealth Games in 2014, George Square will be right at the heart of the celebrations.
The plans for the square and other parts of the city certainly look ambitious. The 2018 championships will feature cycling, golf, gymnastics, rowing, aquatics and triathlon and two of the events – the men’s and women’s road races – will pass right though the square itself. It will be one of the colourful highlights of the championship and a chance for spectators to see close-up some of the 3,000 athletes taking part.
However, even those who are not particularly interested in sport will have a chance to participate because running alongside the 11 days of sport between August 2 and 12 2018 will be a festival showcasing the best of Scottish and Glaswegian culture. The Merchant City Festival will also become part of the celebrations for the duration of the championships.
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Glasgow itself will also be on show of course. The city has always been the hub for some of Scotland’s most exciting creative industries, but in recent years it has also proved itself as a host to international events, including the MTV Awards and the Commonwealth Games. The European Championships will be another sign of how well Glasgow does events of this kind.
The organisers are already well into their planning and say, quite rightly, that part of their job will be to secure and further promote the legacy of the Commonwealth Games – although that may require some managing of expectations that one sporting event on its own can transform the lack of daily physical activity among Scots.
But whatever happens, like the Commonwealth Games before it, the European Championships will undoubtedly get some people up and moving. Above all it will be a chance to celebrate Scottish culture and, in the heart of Glasgow, have a great time in a warm and friendly atmosphere.