A top event with a fitting last day of competition: The European Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Basel were a sporting and organisational success. The extensive Health and Safety precautions proved their worth.
A spectacular series of Sunday finals rounded off the 9th European Artistic Gymnastics Championships, held in Basel, Switzerland. The organisers faced considerable uncertainty while preparing the event, but were happy with the outcome. «We set out to provide the 280 gymnasts with a perfect competition environment despite all the difficulties associated with the pandemic», says Kathrin Amacker, President of the Local Organising Committee.
«We fully achieved our goal, even without spectators on site.»
«These European Championships set a new yardstick», Amacker adds. «Basel has shown the entire continent that it is an excellent host city for large-scale sporting events.» The 700 members of 38 national delegations spent a total of 5800 nights in local hotels. Dr. Farid Gayibov, President of the governing body European Gymnastics, comments very favourably on the entire event: “First of all, I want to express my gratitude to the governments of Basel-Stadt and Basel-Land for their continuous support. The Local Organising Committee did a fantastic job in particularly difficult circumstances, working through all the Covid regulations in a professional manner. Furthermore, the St.
Jakobshalle is perfect for gymnastics. The lack of spectators was nicely countered by having a ‘Virtual Live Audience’ on screen in the hall. It was a pleasure to see gymnasts’ parents, family and fans supporting them from far away. The hall lighting and design made for a great show, ideal for TV. We have had positive feedback from around the globe.
For the host nation, the championships were also a memorable sporting success. Switzerland’s Giulia Steingruber won gold in the vault, Benjamin Gischard picked up silver for his floor performance and Christian Baumann secured bronze on parallel bars. The competition was a dress rehearsal for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, its crucial role in
athletes’ planning accentuated by the lack of major events over the past year. On the health side, the championships took place at a difficult period, with rising infections in much of Europe. The Organising Committee went to extensive lengths to safeguard everybody involved. Medical staff carried out some 3000 quick-tests and 600 PCR
diagnoses for the 1500 people connected with the event. «As of Sunday evening», reports Managing Director Beat Läuchli, «only four people tested positive, one journalist and three outside the protective ‘bubble’».
Events of this size are only possible with the help of unpaid enthusiasts. In Basel, 600 volunteers clocked up some 16,000 working hours. «We are enormously grateful to them all», declares Kathrin Amacker. «They deserve an honorary gold medal!».