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The Future of Masters Athletics in Europe

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    EMACNS and EMMTRC 2020 just finished with a lot of media and television attention, specially during the most difficult situation we have ever faced in the world.

    Many athletes were not able to travel or could not come to Madeira although the Island offered Covid19 free tests. This circumstances made it difficult for EMA, the LOC and the organiser AARAM to plan the championships as we started at the beginning of the year. In the end, we made it possible for the athletes to participate and to have well-organized championships.

    But we must also look ahead. Most countries have started a total lockdown these days and will continue until the end of November or  will continue with restrictions for a normal life until the end of December or further … we do not know. Indoor arenas are closed now, stadiums as well. We are forced to do our exercises outdoors, to run in parks or on roads, to throw the discus on beaches or in the garden. Fantasy is now our possibility to continue.

    Competitions, championships for 2021? We would like to continue with Braga at the end of March 2021 – under some reduced discipline offers for athletes. Until now we have to wait and see how the pandemic develops. Tampere 2021 WMAC or EMACS … the decision has to be made by the City responsibles – latest in January to allow enough time to prepare for the event. EMA Mountain Running, Trail Running and Nordic Walking has been agreed to take part in Val Tramontina from 27 to 30 May 2021. EMA will again offer a virtual open preparation challenge for athletes who like to focus on the championships. In January we will start with ROAD TO VAL TRAMONTINA – partner will be OpenTrack again.

    Important for our Members in 2021 is the General Assembly of EMA. We hope to have it organized in Tampere. New Council members will have to be elected as their mandate will end in August.

    In 2022 we all should look forward to returning to a closed normal athletics season with championships. Candidates for championships sent EMA their biddings. Annecy likes to organize the Mountain and Trail Championships, Grosseto wants to host the Non/Stadia events. We are depending on WMA’s decision for 2022 to ensure that the regions can continue their planning – Edmonton or Gothenburg …

    A number of questions will be asked around the world in the coming years:

    •     How is it possible to travel by plane when most of the airlines are no longer existing?
    •     Will there be enough hotels in the cities to accommodate the amount of athletes?
    •     What about the financial situation of most of our athletes – can they still afford to travel?
    •     Can we keep in our federations the masters motivated or will they change their activities?

    We don’t know, but we always have in our athletics mind “We do not give up!”

    Stay with us in the future, although we are confronted with different challenges – athletics was our past and it is our future.

    Kurt Kaschke

    EMA President