As the build-up to the official unveiling of Dynamic New Athletics (DNA) during the European Games in Minsk next year continues, the first of two DNA test events was successfully conducted in the Belarusian capital last week.
The event at Dinamo Stadium featured six regional teams from across Belarus and gave technical officials their first opportunity to produce the two-hour event. Taking top spot on the podium was Team Green, whose spirited teamwork in the final mixed-medley run saw it leapfrog from third to first.
“When you compete in a team event you think about the unit and tend to try twice as hard to give your best and maybe something even more,” said Team Green’s Yanina Lutsenko, who drove her side to victory by edging Kim Kavalenka of Team Blue by just 0.37 seconds in the final event. “It was an unusual event for most of us, something new, but it was challenging and a lot of fun, and to compete at such a big, legendary arena as this was really cool.”
DNA is a new format of team athletics developed by European Athletics to offer fans something new and entertaining that has a sustainable future. DNA has been born out of extensive market research to create a modular, compact team sport that can be played by any sports club, anywhere, anytime.
“We are in good shape with athletics, as the recent European Championships showed in Berlin, but we don’t want to rest on our laurels – we want to continuously challenge ourselves and help the sport evolve, just as it has for centuries,” said European Athletics Council Member Libor Varhaník.
Over the last three years, the organisation approached athletes, broadcasters, sponsors and fans and asked them what could be done differently that might appeal to a younger, tech-savvy audience, while not forgetting the traditions of the sport. “The feedback emphatically told us that we needed an event that was shorter in duration, more linear, modular and digital,” Varhaník added.
While DNA will be making its elite-level debut at the 2nd edition of the European Games next 21-30 June in Minsk, the vision for the new format extends well beyond 2019 and targets all levels of athletes. DNA’s modular components and two-hour timeframe mean the new format is perfect for sports clubs, schools and universities, as well as at the national-team level.
“What we will see in Minsk is only the tip of the iceberg,” European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen said. “We would very much like to see DNA being practiced at the grassroots level by athletes of all ages and abilities and we are considering many exciting new additions post-Minsk, including a digital component. DNA is designed so that it can be tailor-made to meet the particular needs of any team, club or school.”
DNA is comprised of 10 athletics events. In order they are: track’athlon (a mixed 2x400 race combining run-jump and throw), long jump (women), 100m (men), javelin throw (women), 100m (women), 110m hurdles (men), high jump (men), 100m hurdles (women), and the hunt: a distance-medley race where the teams that perform best in the first nine events get a proportionate head start.
At Minsk 2019, the top 30 athletics nations in Europe are scheduled to compete in DNA. The knock-out tournament will take place from 23-28 June 2019, with four competition days and two rest days. Each team will feature up to 17 athletes and 6 reserves. There will be 33 medals up for grabs in Minsk: gold, silver and bronze for the best team overall, and gold, silver and bronze for the best individual athletes in each of the 10 disciplines.
Up next for DNA on the road to the European Games will be a DNA Head Coaches Workshop on 26 October in Lausanne, Switzerland. A second DNA test event at Dinamo Stadium is scheduled for next spring.
For a short video on the DNA concept, click here.