(Reuters) - The inaugural multi-sport European Championships were launched in Glasgow on Thursday when the preliminaries of the rowing and gymnastics events kicked off 11 days of action in Scotland and Germany.
For the first time, the continental championships for six different sports — aquatics, gymnastics, cycling, rowing, triathlon and a new team golf event — are all being clustered together in and around the same host city, Glasgow.
The only exception will be the athletics championships which start next week in Berlin, but which will still come under the same new European Championships umbrella.
The first of the 4,500 athletes competing at the event, which is intended to instil the sort of one-city, multi-sport vibe felt at an Olympic Games, were Europe’s top rowers at Strathclyde Country Park 15 miles outside the city.
The qualification for the women’s gymnastics team event was also being staged at the SSE Hydro arena while the track cycling championships were due to begin on Thursday evening at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, named after Scotland’s most successful Olympian.
The first of 188 gold medals on offer will be awarded on Friday in swimming, synchronised swimming, track cycling and rowing.
Reporting by Ian Chadband; Editing by Toby Davis