Bilbao celebrates this September (from 17 to 24) the Multisport European Triathlon Championship in which the participation of more than 3,000 athletes is expected and up to 8,000 people if the companions and fans are counted. During those days, Bilbao will host a sport with a lot of popular participation and this event is considered proof that the Covid is already forgotten and the city is thus presented to the rest of the world. “This championship will not only make us enjoy, but also welcome visitors with its corresponding economic and image impact”, highlighted Juan Mari Aburto, Mayor of Bilbao. “We are very proud to open our doors to this great sports festival”, he assured in the presentation of the test
in March, José Hidalgo, president of the Spanish Triathlon Federation, He spoke of the importance of this event for the sport, but also for the city: “We want this event to be something more; and offer our European age groups an unforgettable experience based on three axes: Firstly, venues for competitions in iconic places (such as the Guggenheim Museum, the Bilbao Estuary, the Bizkaia Suspension Bridge or the Urdaibai forest, a world biosphere reserve)”, he assured and added “Secondly, a program of activities complementary to sports with cultural, tourist, gastronomic, or environmental activities (all designed for the triathlete and her companions). Finally, a high level of services to the athlete that makes them feel welcome and better treated regardless of their competitive level”.
Why are our athletes obliged to wear the Spanish jersey in some games that are held in Euskal Herria? Banning our teams and forcing them to play on theirs is their famous freedom.#GureKoloreak https://t.co/VxtcjlNrwB
– Arnaldo Otegi 🔻 (@ArnaldoOtegi) August 13, 2022
Now, however, problems have come from the nationalist side “Why are our athletes forced to wear the Spanish jersey in some games that are held in Euskal Herria? Prohibiting our national teams and forcing them to play in theirs is their famous freedom”, assured Arnaldo Otegui in a message on social networks supporting the proposal that Basque athletes not compete as Spaniards. All part of an organization that defends that Basque athletes cannot compete with the colors of the national team and even less in these championships: “In order to participateathletes are required to purchase and wear the official clothing of their respective states. And not only to the components of the national teams or to the elite triathletes, but also to the popular ones (except in the Open test). In other words, in our case everyone is forced to wear the Spanish rojigualdo uniform or the French tricolor, ”he writes on his website. He assures that they have asked and the answer has been forceful: “We have consulted with the Spanish Triathlon Federation (FETRI) and their response has been that whoever does not comply with the uniformity can be disqualified and even excluded from the competitioneven in the same call room”, he says.
“There are many and many Basque athletes who consider such a requirement unacceptable and humiliating in an event organized and paid for from our country, the Basque Country. Euskal Herria should participate with its own team and its own clothing. In any case, this time we are satisfied with being able to take part with the club’s clothing, or with the one that each one considers appropriate, ”continues the statement.
They ask the institutions for help: “We ask the Basque Government, the Provincial Council of Bizkaia and the Bilbao City Council – funders of the events – the political parties and the triathlon federations and clubs to take action on the matter and prevent consume such injustice. Likewise, we encourage Basque triathletes to enroll in the championships and to fight in favor of this just claim. We take one thing for sure: we will be at the starting line one way or another. We hope that common sense prevails and we can participate with all of the law”.