The fifth edition of the European Athletics Young Leaders Forum is set to begin here tomorrow, running alongside the continental governing body’s 2016 Championships ©European Athletics

The fifth edition of the European Athletics Young Leaders Forum is set to begin here tomorrow, running alongside the continental governing body’s 2016 Championships.

Up to 100 participants are expected at the Forum, a five-day educational event that aims to equip young people to design and deliver projects that benefit the grassroots of athletics and local communities.

Among the topics they will examine are leadership, project management, sustainability, social inclusion, anti-doping, use of social media and the promotion of athletics.

The Forum has been months in the making with European Athletics head office staff and young leaders working on what they hope will be a stimulating programme.

European Athletics chief executive Christian Milz sees it as a key activity in developing the European Athletics Young Leaders Community.

"The aim is to provide skills for participants and to motivate them and strengthen their networks," he said.

"The young people have to prepare a project presentation which will showcase something that they have been directly involved in and during the Forum, they will learn about funding and marketing and our expectation is that their projects will be much stronger once they return home."

Xicu Colomar, who is helping with the preparations, says non-formal education methods will be used. 

"It's a forum for young people, delivered by young people, so there will be elements you won't see at a regular conference,” said the Spaniard. 

"The activities will be led by young leaders and we have some energisers planned too."

Other features of the Forum include contributions from social change activist Luvuyo Mandela, the great grandson of South African icon Nelson Mandela, and Maria Kypriotov, a representative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Guest interviewees include Sebastian Coe, President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), as well as former pole vault world champion Rens Blom of The Netherlands, two-time Olympic gold medal-winning javelin thrower Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway, and British runner Jenny Meadows, a world and European medallist over 800 metres. 

As in Zurich two years ago, the Forum will coincide with the European Athletics Championships, scheduled to take place from tomorrow until Sunday (July 10).

Every evening, the group will make their way to the Olympic Stadium where they will watch the action unfold from the athletes tribune.

Each Member Federation has been invited to send one young person aged between 18 and 28 with some having asked for additional places. 

Participants have to be involved in the development of athletics in some way; either as a volunteer, coach, official, referee or working with a Federation.

"The projects the participants will take back to their Federations will make a difference and hopefully show them they can have an impact," added Milz. 

"The Young Leaders Community is growing all the time and I hope we will see more growth coming from this Forum. 

"We are already looking ahead to Berlin 2018 when the next Forum will take place.

"With a focus on change around the organisation, now is a good time to involve young people in shaping the future and their influence will hopefully continue to make a positive difference for many years."

The Young Leaders Forum was first held in Gothenburg in 2006, followed by Barcelona in 2010, Helsinki in 2012 and Zurich in 2014. 

More than 350 young leaders have taken part in the event over the last 10 years.