Innovation the DNA of new athletics event at 2019 European Games
By Jonathan Rest
A new-look mixed gender, team competition will make its athletics debut at the second edition of the European Games in Minsk, Belarus in 2019, it was announced today.
The event, known as 'Dynamic New Athletics', has been almost a year in the making for European Athletics, the continental governing body, and is aimed at rejuvenating track and field, and attracting a younger audience.
The new format will involve Europe's top 30-ranked nations competing across 10 events in a maximum time of two hours.
The six track events will be: 100m women; 100m men; 100m hurdles women; 110m hurdles; mixed 4x400 relay (teams decide gender order); and mixed distance pursuit.
The field events will encompass women's long jump and high jump and men's javelin, while there will also be a one-man and one-woman Mini'Athlon combined event, entailing running, jumping and throwing.
Points will range from 12 (for 1st place) to 2 (for 6th place).
The mixed distance pursuit will be the final event of the athletics competition, with a staggered start based on how many points each team has. The winner of this race will be crowned the overall winner.
Teams will be made up of nine women, eight men and six reserves.
A memorandum of understanding confirming the event on the Minsk 2019 programme was signed today between European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen (pictured left) and European Olympic Committees acting president Janez Kocijančič (right) ahead of the EOC general assembly in Zagreb, which gets under way tomorrow.
Kocijančič said: “We are delighted to confirm the official collaboration with European Athletics for the Minsk 2019 European Games, where we will see the future of athletics for the very first time. A number of elements of the new format will help take the European Games to the next level after the highly successful inaugural edition in Baku in 2015.
"The great thing about this new format is that it appeals to every level in the sport. This concept is applicable at a grassroots level and we hope that the elite European athletes taking part at the games will inspire a new generation of athletic talent.”
European Athletics told Sportcal 11 months ago that it was committed to the 2019 European Games, but that it was working on a new, exciting format, the process for which was spearheaded by Pierce O'Callaghan, the EOC's European Games senior consultant.
The major criticism of the inaugural 2015 European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan was that European Athletics and swimming's LEN sent only low-level or junior athletes. Indeed, the athletics competition in Baku was the bottom-tier European Athletics Team Championships 3rd League.
Fifteen sports are on the programme for the 2019 European Games, which will take place from 21 to 30 June: archery; athletics; badminton; basketball (3x3); beach volleyball; boxing; canoe; cycling; gymnastics; judo; karate; sambo; shooting; table tennis; and wrestling.