33d EAP Convention in Catania

The EAP circuit meets in Catania (ITA) next 3-5 November for its 33d annual Convention.

The year 2023 saw the EAP circuit meetings progress on several levels showing that the development strategy called #trueathletics fulfilled its specifications and follows the stages of the program presented for the first time at the 2018 congress (Valence/Fr).
The “vision 2021-2023” strategy, despite two years of delay following the difficult covid period, has implemented two main projects:

For memory, it was precisely in 2018 that World Athletics (still IAAF at that time) presented the principles of Ranking a few days before our convention, progressively creating, as feared, discrimination between athletes and between meetings. In a very simplified way, we will say that the performance of an athlete would no longer have the same value depending on whether it was achieved in a meeting of a certain category rather than another. By issuing certifications (among the World Continental Tour), linked to certain conditions (including budgetary), we immediately understood that this not only did not do a service to "general" athletics but de facto disqualified a very large number of good meetings (including ours) which had the characteristic of being well-organized and structured meetings and attracting a large number of foreign athletes.
These good meetings, if they do not manage to increase their budget and, in certain cases, to change their competition structure, to join the "World Continental Tour" (namely: Challenger, Bronze, Silver or Gold) would lose all their interest for foreign athletes of a certain level, those who, to be clear, made the organisers proud and attracted the public and sponsors.
Quickly, athletes and managers stopped asking what the level of competition was and started asking what category the meeting was. In other words, they wanted to know how many points their performance would be worth.  And many meetings therefore remained outside the WACT and considered "category F", in other words, of no real interest for an athlete having to fight for his ranking to qualify for a European or World championship or the Olympic Games.
The strength of the EAP, despite this imposed "evolution" (and still debatable and discussed by many leading players in athletics) has been to strengthen its organizational structure (QMP project) and by reaffirming its principles and values of basis (expressed in the Code of Conduct).

In 2023, the EAP circuit was able to raise its level of performance and also to have 4 metings recognized within the WACT (Malta, Loughborough, Celle Ligure: Challenger; Genève: Bronze).

This chart, shows the evolution of the meetings' performances (competition score) since 2002. The Project strategy 2021-2023 was intended to reinforce the presence of EAP meeting at each level and stop the erosion of the the top level (blue category, over 75000 pts). Since 2016, the trend showed a leveling to the bottom with only 1 meeting over 75'000 points (with the exception of 2017, with 2 of them). 

In 2023, we finally see 4 meetings (blue category) and we could quite consider 5 (one meeting being below the 75000 line for a few points). The next category "pink"  (70000 to 74999 pts), shows only 1, "that", meeting. This is because one other meeting normally in this category had to withdraw because the track has been resurfaced. On the green category (60000 to 69999 pts) we have 3 meetings and at least 2 of them are growing and should also make the step to the hight category. The red category, below the 60000 pts, is somehow not telling the truth because we find 2 indoor meetings and a thematic meeting. So, it's not quite ideal for comparison with the rest of them. In total 5 meetings are not on the list because they had to withdraw for technical reasons: resurfacing, track homologation or budget.

For 2024, we should have at least three other Challenger meetings (Nivelles, Annecy and Kuldiga), which will allow athletes to once again choose our meetings as their first choice.
Moving among WACT is a necessary compromise, although we do not agree with the basic principles of this imposed and exclusive structure.

But on the other hand, the characteristics of EAP meetings remain those of the promotion of athletics, namely the ability to bring together athletes from many countries and create sporting atmospheres that stimulate performance.

It is true that our meetings are very rarely limited to 1-2 series as are the meetings intended for spectacle, but precisely this characteristic of having athletes in 3-4 series, really creates interest and gives opportunities (not to mention the answers) for athletes to burn, surpass themselves, have fun and... quite simply give meaning to the practice of this sport.
Wanting to limit access to competitions to a number of elected top athletes (who are not necessarily more meritorious than others), is to shut the door in the face of an entire movement and all of the quality work carried out in the clubs.
Our EAP meetings were therefore able to benefit from this labeling while continuing to maintain great accessibility.

And that is our strength: the athletics that we are proud of.

And, contrary to some perceptions, our meetings achieve excellent performances and in 2023, there are 9 new EAP records (7 male records and 2 female records)! We also have plenty of youth EAP records, and this is another important point we are proud of ! The athletics of the future is in our garden !

At the end of 2023 and in view of the next convention which will be held in Catania on November 3-5, we can rejoice in the enthusiasm brought by this encouraging year.

Organizers of European meetings interested in joining our circuit (which we remind you is also open to masters, youth, para-athletic meetings and non-stadium competitions), can submit their application before October 10.

We look forward to expanding our family with new members who share the passion for athletics and the principles we convey,

Discover and join the 33d EAP convention in Catania !


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