(Reuters) - European Athletics is poised to spearhead the charge for radical change in the sport with organisers having unveiled a new mixed gender team competition to be introduced at the second edition of the European Games in 2019.
The new competition planned for the Games in Minsk, Belarus, called Dynamic New Athletics (DNA), will see Europe’s top 30 countries compete across 10 events in two hours, culminating in a staggered pursuit relay called the “Hunt”.
Each team comprising nine women, eight men and six reserves will compete in a knockout format over five days before the quarter-final, semi-final and final rounds.
Teams will awarded points ranging from 12 for first place to two for sixth place, and starting positions for the “Hunt”, which determines the overall winner, will depend on how many points a team has accumulated.
The 10 events have been selected because of their popularity with fans, and track competitions will also include the men and women’s 100 metres, men’s 110m hurdles, women’s 100m hurdles and a mixed 4x400m relay.
Three field events - long jump and high jump (women) and javelin (men) - have also been proposed plus a one-man and one-woman Mini’Athlon combined event, entailing running, jumping and throwing, sports website Inside the Games reported last week.
International Association of Athletics Federations chief Sebastian Coe said at a London conference last month he was considering a raft of changes, including a “laser-like” focus on formats, to keep athletics relevant to the next generation.
The “compact and unpredictable” new competition is billed by organisers as the future of athletics, with the two-hour time period designed to “ensure a fast-paced, interactive and easy-to-follow format” and engage “a new, youthful audience”.
Writing by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris