An official Amsterdam 2016 press conference was held at the Olympic Stadium on Monday, exactly one year before the start of the 23rd edition of the European Athletics Championships.

European Athletics Vice President Jean Gracia, attending the press conference, said he was impressed by preparations ahead of the 6-10 July 2016 championships. 

"It’s hard to believe that the Championships have never been staged in the Netherlands considering the strong athletics tradition that exists here," said Gracia. "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 1 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. 

During the press conference, Ellen van Langen, the 800m Olympic champion from Atlanta 1992, 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. The figures speak for themselves with over 1,300 athletes and more than 1,500 volunteers expected,” Van Langen said. 

“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,” she added.

Athletes Gregory Sedoc, the 2007 European indoor 60m hurdles champion, and Susan Kuijken, European bronze medallist over 5000m last year in Zurich, were also present at the press conference yesterday to share their enthusiasm for Amsterdam 2016 with the journalists in attendance.


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