GLASGOW showed quite what a spectacular sporting event it could host when the city welcomed the Commonwealth Games in 2014 but four years later, there is the opportunity to prove those twelve glorious days were no fluke.

The Glasgow 2018 European Championships kick-off today in what is a ground-breaking sporting event that could potentially change the way things are done in terms of hosting sporting events forever.

These European Championships are a joint venture between Glasgow and Berlin, with Scotland hosting aquatics, cycling, gymnastics, rowing, triathlon and golf with the Germans welcoming the athletics. The event will see eleven days of truly world-class competition from over 3000 competing athletes, with individuals of the calibre of Laura Kenny, Max Whitlock and Adam Peaty, to name just a few of the GB team, fighting for medals on these shores. The athletics championships in Berlin boasts a similar quality of athlete.

This is no meaningless competition, this event consists of each of the sports’ European Championships while at the end of the eleven days of competition, a trophy, which was unveiled yesterday, will be awarded to the most successful nation overall.

Glasgow proved to the world it could host the Commonwealth Games in spectacular fashion and there is little doubt that these European Championships will be similarly well-run. The pre-event hype has not quite been on the scale of that of Glasgow 2014 - perhaps that is because it’s a new event, perhaps it is because it is GB teams competing rather than Scotland - but regardless of the excitement levels on day one, it seems unfathomable that Scotland will not have a wealth of home success to celebrate come a week on Sunday.

Some of Scotland’s very best will be on show over the next week-or-so, including Olympic champion in the velodrome, Katie Archibald, six-time Commonwealth swimming medallist, Duncan Scott, and golf major-winner, Catriona Matthew.

There will also be some familiar faces appearing in Glasgow, with Ross Murdoch, who memorably won gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 defending his European title as well as Hannah Miley, who also won gold four years ago in front of her home crowd returning to the scene of one of her greatest triumphs of her illustrious career.

The first action of the championships comes at Strathclyde Park, with the rowing heats this morning, followed by gymnastics preliminaries at the SEC Hydro and cycling qualifiers at the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome later in the day.

That this is the event’s debut has left some decidedly perplexed as to the logic behind splitting the event between two host cities but recent developments in the sporting world have made it clear that few cities want to shoulder the burden alone of hosting a major sporting event.

Numerous major events, including the Commonwealth Games themselves, are struggling to attract host city bids and so the logical step seems to be to share hosting privileges between more than one city.

Paul Bush, Visit Scotland’s Director of Events, has seen a plethora of major sporting events come to Scotland in recent years and he is hugely excited about this new idea of using multiple host cities.

“I think for events going forward, rights holders will have to think very carefully about putting the burden on one city alone,” he said.

“Undoubtedly, for me, the benefits need to be spread around but so do the risks. So personally, I wouldn’t worry if an event like this was in two or three cities. It’s interesting that we have this event with Berlin and Glasgow and we also have Euro 2020, which has 12 host cities. a

“I think multiple cities is absolutely the way things are going and if you look at the momentum that’s behind these European Championships, it’s fantastic.”

The idea of simultaneously staging a number of sports’ European Championships is certainly new but on closer inspection, appears eminently sensible, particularly for smaller sports that can struggle to gain publicity outwith Olympics and Commonwealth Games.

With an estimated television audience of over 1 billion people, exposure certainly seems guaranteed in the coming days. And with the sports spread across Scotland - golf is in Gleneagles, open water swimming in Loch Lomond and diving in Edinburgh, these Games are considerably more widespread than the Commonwealth Games were is, believes Bush, is hugely positive.

“I think it’s really important that these Championships are spread across Scotland - that spreads the benefits all over the country,” he said.

“The important thing in bringing this event here is that it’s very innovative and we pride ourselves in the events world and the sports world in Scotland for innovation. Bringing sports together like this will raise the profile of all the sports.

“And this helps continue the story - we had Glasgow 2014, now we have Glasgow 2018 and then we’ll have the Euro 2020 football championships, as well as a lot of things next year too. It’s exciting that Scotland are leading the way in Europe in these things.”

The word legacy was bandied about in the aftermath of the Commonwealth Games are there are many who doubt that any long-term benefits emerged from the event. But Maree Todd, MSP and Minister for Children and Young People, believes there are considerable benefits of hosting another major sporting event just a few years after Glasgow 2014.

“There’s a fantastic legacy from Glasgow 2014 and I know from what I saw in the Highlands, where I’m from, it inspired children and young people up there to get involved in sport so we need to be doing that again and again,” she said.

“Glasgow really shone at Glasgow 2014 and people saw the city at its best so to be able to do that again is fantastic.

“It’s not as simple as we’ll get more elite athletes, we want it to be wider than that.

“Yes, we do want more elite athletes but we also want to inspire people to think creatively within their communities and do creative things with the assets they already have and make sure everyone realises how important it is to be active.”