TOP 6 | Six times young European athletes shone on the big stage
2018 promises to be an incredible year for Scotland as it prepares to host the first ever multi-sport Glasgow 2018 European Championships in August.
Next year will also see Scotland stage a year-long programme of events as part of Year of Young People 2018, celebrating the contribution that young people make to all aspects of life, including sport.
CLICK HERE for more information on Scotland’s Year of Young People.
Each of the six sports that will feature at Glasgow 2018 – Aquatics, Cycling, Golf, Gymnastics, Rowing and Triathlon – have all seen young sportspeople upset the odds and stage remarkable performances, many of them in European competition.
Here are our top 6 winning moments by young European athletes:
Charley Hull – 2014 Ladies European Tour – Lalla Meryem Cup - Aged 17
English golfer Charley Hull was just four days short of her 18th birthday when she won the 2014 Lalla Meryem Cup via a play-off against Gwladys Nocera in Morocco. It was Hull’s first ever professional victory and was a key factor in her becoming the youngest winner of the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit title that year. She also won the LET Player of the Year award for 2014 marking an incredible rise to prominence for the Kettering-born golfer.
Alistair Brownlee – 2010 European Triathlon Championships – Aged 22
Now a double-Olympic gold medallist and one of Great Britain’s most decorated athletes, back in 2010 Alistair Brownlee was an accomplished – but still fairly young – triathlete with major ambitions within the sport. After winning his first world title in 2009, Brownlee suffered a stress fracture but staged a remarkable recovery to clinch gold at the 2010 European Championships in Athlone, Ireland. The rest is history!
Nadia Comaneci – 1975 European Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Championshops – Aged 13
Can you remember what you were doing aged 13? For Romanian sporting legend Nadia Comaneci, it was the age at which she shot to international fame by winning an unprecedented four gold medals at the European Championships in Norway. The youngster almost made it a clean-sweep of all five events but had to make do with silver on the floor. Still, not a bad return for Comaneci who went on to win five Olympic gold medals and a further 5 European titles in a glittering career.
Fran Halsall – 2010 European Aquatics Championships (Women’s 100m freestyle) – Aged 20
Regarded as one of Great Britain’s most accomplished female swimmers of recent times, Fran Halsall had already won two European titles with the 4x100m medley team before clinching her first individual European gold at the 2010 European Aquatics Championships in Budapest. Racing in the 100m freestyle, the then 20-year old Fran saw off surges from Belarussian Aleksandra Herasimenia and Dutch Olympian Femke Heemskerk to seal the win and place an important marker down to her European rivals.
Gerben Thijssen – 2017 European Track Championships – Aged 19
In the ultra-competitive world of European Track cycling, winning titles is not something that comes easily – especially to teenagers. But at this year’s European Track Championships in Berlin, 19-year old Belgian rider Gerben Thijssen tore the form book up by winning gold in the elimination race over rivals Maksim Piskunov and Rui Oliveira. Could be one to watch for next year’s European Track Championships in Glasgow…
Aikaterini Nikolaidou – 2014 European Rowing Championships – Aged 21
A runner-up at the World Rowing Championships in 2013, Greek rower Aikaterini Nikolaidou became a European Champion at the age of just 21. She won the Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls title in 2014 thanks to a blistering performance in Belgrade, finishing more than a second and a half ahead of closest challenger Marie-Anne Frenken. That win marked Greece’s 20th gold medal since the European Rowing Championships re-introduction in 2007.
Fans can buy tickets for an incredible 84 sessions across the Championships, starting at just £10 for adults and £5 for under-16s and over 60s (plus fees). Tickets for all events can be purchased from www.glasgow2018.com/tickets and will be sold on a first come first served basis. Tickets are selling fast, so make sure you're quick.