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Investment needed at grass roots level, to nurture new talent

Biting Back: Ali Gordon

After the excitement of the weekend's Euro 2016 qualifiers, you'd be forgiven for not knowing that the European Games were in full swing in Azerbaijan.

Deemed the Olympics of Europe, the action-packed competition is designed to showcase the best of what our continent has to offer.

Yet sadly, the Games lacks the same glamour expected of an event of this magnitude.

Before last week, Europe was the only continent without its own Games but the event will now sit alongside the All-Africa Games, Pan-American Games, Asian Games and Pacific Games.

Run by the European Olympic Committee, it will take place every four years but unless big-name stars get involved, it seems it will continue to be a bit of an anti-climax.

Some sports will be of near-Olympic standard, in particular boxing and wrestling, but athletics and swimming will contain, for the majority, a bunch of B-listers.

Performing well at the European Games can secure automatic qualification for Rio in some events, but somehow it just doesn't seem to be enough to capture the imagination of the general public.

While it's nice to see money being invested in new sports facilities, surely this cash would be better spent at grassroots level nurturing the upcoming talent we have.

Belfast Telegraph

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