European Championships 2018: Great Britain stars to watch and guide to events

Dina Asher-Smith, Adam Peaty and Laura Kenny (left to right) will all be going for gold at the inaugural European Championships
2018 European Championships
Venues: Glasgow, Edinburgh and Berlin Dates: 2-12 August
Coverage: Live across BBC TV, BBC Radio 5 live and sports extra plus the BBC Sport website with further coverage on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, Connected TVs and mobile app.

The first European Championships will be a ‘mini-Olympics’ for the continent featuring some of the biggest names from seven sports.

Athletics, swimming, gymnastics, cycling, rowing, triathlon and a new team golf event make up the 11-day competition that begins on 2 August.

The athletics will take place in Berlin and the other sports will be hosted in Scotland, with the golf at Gleneagles.

More than 4,500 athletes are expected to compete for 188 gold medals.

Cyclists Laura Kenny and Jason Kenny, swimmer Adam Peaty, athlete Dina Asher-Smith, gymnast Max Whitlock, triathlete Alistair Brownlee and golfer Laura Davies are among the British athletes looking to bring home gold in their respective sports.

The idea is a simple one – instead of European Championships for different sports being held at separate venues and with their own schedules, they will be clustered together in a host city in a bid to create a similar vibe to an Olympic Games.

“It’s great to race on the European stage with all of the other sports,” Olympic and world champion Peaty told BBC Sport.

“It brings all the attention to one place and brings a team ethos together as well because normally we’d go into a race and think ‘it’s just Europeans’ but now it’s got more of a brand and more prestige behind it.”

Athletes explain what to expect from the European Championships

BBC Sport will cover the action live on TV, radio and online from 3 August.

Hazel Irvine, Clare Balding and Gabby Logan will lead up to 12 hours of daily TV coverage across BBC One and BBC Two, and BBC Radio 5 live will provide extensive coverage.

Further coverage will be available on Red Button and Connected TVs while there will be video streams, highlights, on-demand clips and live text pages on the BBC Sport website and app.

Glasgow’s biggest sporting event since the 2014 Commonwealth Games kicked off with a Great Big Opening Party in the city’s George Square on Wednesday.

Asher-Smith leads GB charge in athletics

Dina Asher-Smith broke her own British 100m record with a run of 10.92 seconds at the Diamond League meeting in Oslo in June

Both the athletes and swimmers have targeted these championships above the Commonwealth Games as their key competition for 2018.

British Athletics are sending 102 athletes – the largest contingent for a major games for more than 100 years – with Europe’s fastest woman this year, Dina Asher-Smith, one of the nation’s best hopes for gold along with Commonwealth heptathlon champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson.

But Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers, the 100m champion, will look to scupper Asher-Smith’s sprint double hopes and Belgium’s Olympic champion Nafi Thiam will seek to overcome Johnson-Thompson in the heptathlon.

Russian two-time 110m hurdles champion Sergey Shubenkov will go into his event as the favourite following a stellar season on the Diamond League circuit.

Shubenkov will be one of 30 Russian athletes taking part as neutrals, with the country still banned from competing in the sport as a team.

Can anybody stop Peaty?

‘I’m obsessed with being the best’ – Adam Peaty

With no Australia to thwart them, as at the Commonwealth Games, the British team will hope to repeat their success at the European Swimming Championships of two years ago in London when they accumulated the most medals.

Olympic champion Peaty will look to repeat his achievements of 2016 when he won the 50m and 100m breaststroke titles and the 4x100m medley relay crown.

Peaty is coached by Mel Marshall, as is Sarah Vasey, another Briton to watch having surprised many by taking 50m breaststroke gold at the Commonwealths.

Other Gold Coast champions – James Wilby (200m breaststroke), Ben Proud (50m free), Siobhan Marie O’Connor (200m individual medley) and Aimee Wilmott (400m individual medley) – will also be fancied to win European titles, as will 100m freestyle winner Duncan Scott, who will have the backing of his home crowd in Glasgow.

In the diving, Olympic 3m synchro champion Jack Laugher will be hoping to retain his European title but Tom Daley is taking a break from competition.

There is also synchronised and open water swimming among the aquatics events.

Mr & Mrs Kenny target titles and Whitlock leads GB gymnasts

Laura and Jason Kenny have won 10 Olympic gold medals between them

Husband-and-wife Jason and Laura Kenny will look to keep up with some of their Tokyo 2020 rivals when the track cycling gets under way at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow on the opening day.

The pair returned to racing this year after taking time out to look after their new baby son. Six-time Olympic champion Jason Kenny said Albie is a “nice distraction” but added that their lives have changed.

“It’s always said that athletes are selfish, and you are in a sense as you put your body first when it comes to competing and resting, but when you have the little one you don’t have a choice,” he said.

“It does change but it’s amazing how many things you thought were important before, but you can deal with a lot easier.”

The local interest will focus on Scotland’s first track cycling world champion Katie Archibald, who won the Commonwealth 3,000m individual pursuit gold title. Her brother John, who won silver in the 4,000m individual pursuit in Australia, is also in the British team.

Former Olympic and European team pursuit gold medallist Dani Rowe will hope to add a European road race crown.

In the men’s event, Mark Cavendish – winner of 30 Tour de France stages – will be up against Slovak Peter Sagan, who has won the Tour’s points classification on five occasions.

Mountain biking and BMX are among the other cycling events.

Over at the SSE Hydro – which hosted the the 2015 World Championships – double Olympic champion Max Whitlock will look to win his first European gymnastics title since 2014.

British Commonwealth champions Alice Kinsella and Georgia-Mae Fenton, and James Hall, Dom Cunningham and Courtney Tulloch will hope to shine again.

However, the team will be without two-time European bars winner Becky Downie who has withdrawn through injury.

Strathclyde set for sporting feast

Mohamed Sbihi will be in the middle of the Great Britain men’s eight boat

The rowing will take place at Strathclyde Country Park. Following the withdrawal of single sculls champion Vicky Thornley, some of the British medal hopes will rest on the men’s quadruple sculls of John Collins, Jonny Walton, Graeme Thomas and Tom Barras, who are in good form having won the last World Cup event in Lucerne.

Britain also have a strong men’s eight with Olympic champion Mohamed Sbihi part of the crew – but world and European champions Germany will be one of the favourites for that title.

The women’s, men’s and mixed-team relay triathlon events will be held at the same venue. Double Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee is named in the British squad although he withdrew from June’s World Triathlon Series in Leeds because of a “few niggles”.

Glasgow-born Marc Austin, who won Commonwealth Games bronze, will compete alongside the 30-year-old in the men’s event, and Jess Learmonth will seek to defend her European crown.

What about the golf?

Laura Davies has won the Ladies’ European Tour order of merit on seven occasions

The new European Tour event – European Golf Team Championships – will take place at the same time as the final major of the year, the US PGA, and just three days after the conclusion of the Women’s British Open.

The event will take place at the illustrious course at Gleneagles and will comprise of men’s and women’s team match-play competitions, as well as an 18-hole foursomes strokeplay mixed-team championship.

There are four Great Britain women’s and men’s teams. Four-time major winner Laura Davies will partner Georgia Hall, who was tied third at last year’s British Open, and 2019 Solheim Cup European team captain Catriona Matthew has teamed up with England’s Holly Clyburn.

The men’s teams comprise of Callum Shinkwin and Lee Slattery and also Scottish duo Connor Syme and Liam Johnston, who replaced Richie Ramsay and Ryan Evans after they both withdrew.

European Championships 2018 – Venues

Athletics

Aquatics

  • Swimming – Tolcross International Swimming Centre, Glasgow
  • Diving – Royal Commonwealth Pool, Edinburgh
  • Synchronised swimming – Scotstoun Sports Campus, Glasgow
  • Open water swimming – Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park

Cycling

  • Track – Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, Glasgow
  • Road – Glasgow city centre and metropolitan areas
  • Mountain biking – Cathkin Braes Mountain Bike Trails
  • BMX – Glasgow BMX Centre

Golf

  • PGA Centenary Course, Gleneagles

Gymnastics

Rowing & Triathlon

  • Strathclyde Country Park, North Lanarkshire