DNA in Spain: Playas de Castellón keeps on winning
9 May 2022
After grabbing the first two editions of Spain’s national indoor Dynamic New Athletics (DNA) inter-clubs meeting, Playas de Castellón confirmed its early dominance of the format, this time with a resounding victory in the country’s first-ever national Clubs U20 DNA Championships at its home track, the Complejo Deportivo Gaetá Huguet in Castellón, last Saturday (7 May).
Its mixed team of 18 athletes (9 men and 9 women) gained maximum points in eight of the first 11 events of the competition to build a huge lead of 21 points, which translated into an unassailable 6.9-second head start over eventual runners-up CD Surco Lucena for the final and deciding event, the mixed-gender medley relay known as La Caza (the Hunt).
The pair beat out teams from four other top Spanish clubs to became the first teams officially confirmed for participation in this summer’s European DNA U20 Clubs, which will also take place in Castellón on 17 and 18 September.
Aimed at driving both domestic interest in the participating countries and demand for a European club-level team championships using the new format, the 12-team exhibition event will be the first chance for U20 athletes to take part in an international DNA competition.
As the hosts, Playas de Castellón is automatically qualified for the event leaving the place reserved for the Spanish champion open for CD Surco Lucena to fill.
Among Saturday’s top women performers were the Playas de Castellón duo of Mara Herrando, who ran a leg in the winning mixed 4×400 relay then came back to take the Long Jump final, setting the best mark of the day, 5.67m, in the Group round and national indoor U20 60m champion Naiara Pérez, who followed her 11.99 sec victory in the 100m with a leg in the Hunt.
On the men’s side, Luis Fernandez, also of Playas de Castellón, led the field in the 400m hurdles with his 56.22 sec and then ran a strong leg in the Hunt.
“Saturday’s meeting demonstrated that the U20 teams from Playas de Castellón and CD Surco Lucena will be both be factors in a European-level DNA competition,” said Luis Saladie, the RFEA’s Director of Competition and Events.
“Just as important, it showed that Playas de Castellón and the RFEA (Royal Spanish Athletic Federation) are currently at the centre of the DNA universe and more than ready to offer an international stage for the development of the format.”
According to Saladie, exposure to DNA over the last two years is impacting the athletics community in Spain: “As we’ve seen in our indoor DNA inter-clubs meetings, the U20 athletes on Saturday were all up and cheering for their teammates in every race, clearly enjoying the team element of DNA. Now the team coaches are telling us that they are more and more comfortable with the rules and tactics that help to make the DNA format special.”
Earlier this year, Spain’s senior national team was a runaway winner in the DNA Indoor International in Glasgow and next week the RFEA will stage a national schools exhibition competition as part of its European Union-funded Jungle Athletics project.
After the European DNA U20 Clubs in September, the RFEA and European Athletics will co-host an online international conference for national federation personnel and others to review the 2022 roll-out of DNA and discuss plans for the future.