THE Portuguese town of Montemor-o-Velho has been selected to host the 2010 European Rowing Championships, it has been announced.


Organisers hope that countries will use the event as a warm-up for the World Rowing Championships to take place shortly afterwards at Lake Karapiro in New Zealand.


Montemor-o-Velho was chosen ahead of rival bids from Duisburg and Trakai in Lithuania.


Antonio Marques, the president of the Portuguese Rowing Federation, said: “We hope that we will see 600 rowers from all over Europe because it will be the last opportunity to test the teams before the World Rowing Championships in New Zealand.


“It is the only international 2km rowing course in Portugal.


After several testing events, the international rowing and canoeing course from Montemor-o-Velho is now ready to be officially inaugurated with the European Rowing Championships in 2010.”


The European Championships were first held on Lake Orta in 1893, one year after the constitution of the International Rowing Federation (FISA).


Held nearly every year for the following 80 years, the last European Championships were held in Moscow in 1973, before the decision to re-establish the event was made in May 2006.


Forty-three countries are eligible to compete.


This year’s European Championships were held in Marathon, Greece, on the 2004 Olympic regatta course.


Next year's event is due to be held in Brest in Belarus from September 18 to 20.