DNA – the way forward

In July 2019, after more than three years of research, testing and awareness raising, European Athletics successfully launched an exciting new competition format known as Dynamic New Athletics or DNA at the 2nd European Games in Minsk, Belarus.

Though competition opportunities have been limited by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the DNA project has continued and the format was given its elite indoor debut under the banner “Athletics with Attitude” in Glasgow, Scotland, in February 2022 to the acclaim of both fans and participants.


But showcase events like Minsk and Glasgow are just a part of the DNA story. From the start it has been clear that this new format’s flexibility and key features – including small, mixed-gender teams, a compact timetable of selected disciplines, modified rules and integral digital elements – can offer new value to all levels of the athlete development pyramid.

A 2021 European Athletics survey showed that 83% of the responding Member Federations agreed with the statement that DNA could be useful at one or more levels of the sport in their countries and that they were interested to learn more.

The 2022 Programme

With this positive reaction in mind, the DNA story continues. This year the focus will turn to expanding the concept and exploring opportunities at the club and grassroots levels of the sport. Highlights planned for the remainder of 2022 include:

  • A two-day tournament for selected top club teams from across Europe entitled “European DNA U20 Clubs”.
  • Promotion of “European DNA U20 Clubs” through social media and live streaming of the event itself.
  • Domestic DNA competition programmes for clubs and schools in several countries, including the EU-funded Royal Spanish Athletic Federation (RFEA) “Jungle Athletics” project.
  • Design and testing of a “Jungle Athletics” smartphone app and a TikTok style video challenge.
  • An online conference for federation personnel to share experiences from the season’s activities and plan further measures in 2023.

DNA will also feature as a topic of discussion at October’s European Athletics Convention.


Excited by this? Have a look at the rest of the DNA.run website, visit the FAQs and check back for updates as we continue to develop athletics for the 21st Century.

a new dimension
grassroots development