The Match – the inaugural outdoor encounter between Europe and the USA held in the Belarus capital Minsk on 9-10 September– was judged a resounding success by all concerned in terms of performances and organisation.
“Belarus has been a great supporter and a wonderful host of this competition and I am delighted that so many of the athletes - from Team Europe and Team USA - were enthusiastic about the concept but also so impressed by the quality of the facilities, organisation and hospitality in Minsk. I am sure the athletes will leave Minsk with only good memories,” said European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen.
The highlights of the two days of intense competition in a contest eventually won by Team Europe were arguably two wonderful high jump contests won by Belarus’ Maksim Nedasekau with a world-leading 2.35m and Ukraine’s Yuliya Levchenko going over a personal best of 2.02m.
However, Minsk’s recently refurbished Dinamo National Olympic Stadium drew plaudits for its facilities, as well as the rousing atmosphere provided by a predominantly Belarus home crowd, and especially the track, a Mondotrack WS surface installed in spring 2018 by European Athletics’ Green Inspiration Partner Mondo,
“The track felt fast to me and the stadium is great,” said Great Britain’s women’s 100m winner Daryl Neita.
“I enjoyed the track. It felt fast which I liked very much,” commented Spain’s Orlando Ortega, the winner of the 110m hurdles.
“The track was very fast, I liked it a lot. It certainly helped me to run fast.” added Turkey’s reigning 200m world champion Ramil Guliyev, who got maximum points in Minsk for Team Europe in his specialist event.
Many of the positive comments about the track surface came from the visiting US competitors, who regularly reflected on the fact that there were few stadiums on the other side of the Atlantic that matched the Dinamo National Olympic Stadium.
“it's a fast track and I hope they will decide to hold more big events here,” said men’s 100m winner Mike Rodgers while his compatriot Michael Cherry, who triumphed over one lap of the track, added: “I liked the track tonight, it was hard and smooth, and I could get a good grip on it.”
It wasn’t just the sprinters and hurdlers in Minsk who appreciated the Mondotrack WS surface, which is made up of two different layers of solid rubber with their own specific formulations, vulcanised together to form a continuous, seamless piece of material and provide a guaranteed uniform thickness over the entire track surface that is designed to help improve performance and reduce fatigue as well as the risk of trauma.
“The track felt smooth and comfortable and it was a great atmosphere, a big crowd which was awesome to hear,” reflected the USA’s 1500m winner Josh Thompson.
— European Athletics (@EuroAthletics) September 11, 2019
“It really liked the Mondo track here (in Minsk),” said Germany’s 2016 Olympic Games and 2018 European javelin champion Thomas Rohler. “You can always rely on them and even though it was my first time in Belarus when you come to a stadium and you have something familiar under your feet, that gives you the security you need for a top performance.”
With the Dinamo National Olympic Stadium scheduled to be the host venue for the 2021 European Team Championships Super League, many of those in action for Team Europe at The Match will get the chance to demonstrate their prowess again on the arena’s Mondotrack WS surface.
In addition, at the forthcoming IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019, the Qatari capital’s Khalifa Stadium has been surfaced with the same product.