In 2013, the European Athletics Congress came up with an idea to start a biannual athletics events for European youth under the age of 18. This would be the third event organized by the congress after the European Athletics Junior Championship which was first held in 1970 and the European Athletics Under 23 championships which was first held in 1997.
The first of this championship was held in 2016. The championship is to serve as an alternate to the European Youth Olympic Festival. While the two tournaments have participants from the same age bracket, the difference between the two is that the Athletics Youth Championship is purely an athletics affair while the Youth Olympic Festival incorporates nine different games including athletics. The 2016 edition was held in Tbilisi while the 2018 and 2020 editions will be held at Gyor and Rieti respectively. In Tbilisi, the venue was the Athletics Stadium of Tbilisi while in Gyor and Rieti the venues will be Aqua Sports Center and Stadio Raul Guidobaldi.
The inaugural records from the games were set in Tbilisi in 2016 by athletes from all over Europe. Their origins were as diverse as Germany, Britain, Belarus and many other countries. This is an indication that the championships are helping identify young athletic talent from all over Europe. The championship has a total of 21 events for boys and twenty events for boys.Some of such young people had not had much international exposure prior to the event., thus, this was a good opportunity for them.
Some of the most notable appearances that in the 2016 games include Emmanouil Karalis who won the pole vault gold medal in the event. The 16-year-old from Greece missed the world’s junior pole vault record by a whisker. There was other memorable performance such as in 800 meters which was a highly entertaining event with George Mills leading the field from start to finish in his personal best time of 1:48:82. Another young Greek athlete, Alina Shukh also set a record in heptathlon.
The inaugural event was not without challenges as long jumpers were hindered by strong winds which prevented most from performing as well as they could have. The Britons, though had successful championship. This was especially the case in the last session. Despite the winds that withstood the long jumper’s, Holly Mills managed an impressive 6.19 m jump. The 800 M winner was also from Britain, both events happened in the last session of the games.
Delia Sclabas of Sweden won both 1500 and 3000 meters’ race. 400 m hurdles for men was an entertaining endeavor. Aleix Porras of Spain who was the favorite to win the race, appeared to be on the way to a win but Alessandro Sibilio caught up with him and beat him to the finish line. Eligibility for these games is determined by the nationality of the individual. This is because the objective of the games is to discover young European talents and set it on a path for growth in athletics in the European region.