Why was DNA created?
It’s time for something new in athletics. DNA is an innovative way to engage younger audiences, which demand fast-paced entertainment and consume their sport content on multiple devices. It is also intended to provide attractive competition opportunities for all levels of participants – kids, club athletes and elite performers – that will strengthen the grassroots of our sport.
Where does the name DNA come from?
DNA stands for Dynamic New Athletics but the initials also highlight that this new format focuses on and respects the fundamental elements of the sport – running, jumping and throwing – and that athletics is in everybody’s genes.
What makes DNA different?
DNA is a rapid-fire, team-based, multi-event format for athletics. It features modified rules, mixed-gender relays and head-to-head competition in the field events where every jump and throw counts. It takes place inside a stadium but unlike a traditional athletics meeting, the focus in on just one event at a time. The carefully designed format means the action is non-stop and the final result will always be in doubt until the very end. With team success as the primary aim, the role of the coach during the event, tactics and team spirit are especially important. As DNA matches take place in relatively short time windows (a showcase match takes just two hours) they are attractive both as entertainment and for grassroots participants in our modern, time-scarce age.
How was DNA created?
DNA was created by European Athletics with support from the European Olympic Committees. In a three-year project, we drew on research with young people around Europe, got extensive input from top athletes and then had event-presentation experts shape the product.
Will DNA replace tradition athletics?
No, definitely not. DNA is a parallel format that supplements traditional athletics like hip-hop supplements classical music. To maximise the fan base and participant base of athletics we need to offer both. Some people will like one, some will like the other . . . and some will like both!
When will we see the next DNA showcase event?
Following the success of this year’s DNA indoor event in Glasgow, European Athletics and the LOC of the 2023 European Athletics Indoor Championships in Istanbul are planning to stage an exhibition match for U20 national teams on the day before the championships. Be sure to check back with www.dna.run for further details as they become available.
What about DNA for Europe’s top clubs?
Teams from 12 select clubs across Europe will take part in the inaugural European DNA U20 Clubs event, a two-day tournament in Castellón, Spain, 17-18 September 2022. One aim for the event, which will be hosted by top Spanish club Playas de Castellón and the Royal Spanish Athletics Federation (RFEA), is to determine the interest of Europe’s top clubs in future international DNA competitions.
What about DNA for the grassroots?
With support from European Athletics, the Spanish athletics federation secured a €300,000 grant from the European Union and is now leading the work to bring DNA to the grassroots with its “Jungle Athletics” project. In addition to national schools and clubs competitions, the project includes development of a smartphone app for managing DNA events. The project will culminate in 2022 with an online conference, during which experiences will be shared and blueprints for rolling out DNA in other countries will be discussed.