DNA on track for European Games but trackathlon won't be replaced on programme
Plans are on track for the inclusion of Dynamic New Athletics, the new-look, mixed gender team competition, at the European Olympic Committees’ European Games in Minsk in Belarus next year, European Athletics, the sport’s continental governing body, has announced.
However, this follows a recent decision that ‘trackathlon’, an innovative track and field format that combines running, shot put, hurdles and a standing long jump, will not, after all, feature as a medal event at the games but will, instead, take place elsewhere, perhaps at one of the fan parks.
The change was made after a presentation by European Athletics sparked concerns among some of the participants at the European Olympic Committees general assembly in Marbella earlier this month. Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, Slovenia’s Janez Kocijančič, the EOC’s president, told Sportcal: “Maybe European Athletics went too far, faced with 50 NOCs, including many past champions like Sergey Bubka. There were critical remarks, so we decided to rearrange the concept.”
However, Kocijančič defended the principle of innovation in athletics, saying: “For some, TV and sports is a very old-fashioned system which should be modernised. We don’t want to lose the interest of young people. Normally at an athletics stadium there are three, four or five events going on at the same time and no one can tell what is happening. When you’re looking for innovation, you need some trials.”
In a statement, European Athletics suggested that trackathlon will not be replaced on the original 10-event medal programme, saying: “DNA received the backing of the EOC gathering, with only trackathlon not making the cut. All sides are now working to deliver the best possible nine-event programme in Minsk next June.”
In the statement, Svein Arne Hansen, European Athletics’ president, was quoted as saying that DNA is not meant to replace traditional athletics but rather to add to it and enhance the choices for fans. He was backed by Greg Rutherford, the former Olympic and world champion British long jumper, who said: “I one-hundred-per-cent believe, even though I did very well in my career in the sport of athletics, it needs to be changed or added to at least. We’re getting there. There is something that could be fantastically exciting, but it has to start somewhere.”
DNA is described by European Athletics as “a two-hour, winner-takes-all team-based competition comprised of nine athletics events. They are: long jump (women), 100m (men), javelin throw (women), 100m (women), 110m hurdles (men), high jump (men), 100m hurdles (women), a mixed 4x400m relay and the hunt – a distance-medley race where the teams that perform best in the first eight events get a proportionate head start. Unlike traditional athletics, DNA only has one event happening at any given time.”
The next milestone for DNA will be the official Minsk 2019 test event scheduled for April, European Athletics said.