29 June 2022
With less than 80 days to go, European Athletics and the Royal Spanish Athletics Federation (RFEA) are ramping up preparations for the first European DNA U20 Clubs competition in Castellón, Spain, 17-18 September.
Hosted by local club Playas de Castellón, the pilot project event will attract more than 200 competitors representing teams from 11 Member Federations and it follows on from February’s successful indoor debut of DNA (Dynamic New Athletics) in Glasgow where, coincidently, the senior national team from Spain took home top honours.
The event in Castellón will be a milestone in the delivery of the DNA concept.
“The Glasgow event and, before that, the 2019 launch in Minsk established that elite, senior athletes and hardcore fans really enjoy DNA once they experience it and see what it is all about,” said European Athletics Vice President Libor Varhanik, who is the DNA project steering group chairman.
“Now we want to learn how well we are reaching two very specific target groups: U20 club athletes and younger potential fans who will be watching on their smartphones. The results will help inform us of the direction we need to take in the future.”
Building on Glasgow’s successful communications campaign, which used the tagline ‘Athletics with Attitude’, the pre-event promotion for Castellón will be social media-focused and highlight young competitors selected by their clubs with the aim of attracting viewers for the live stream, which will be available on www.dna.run and other channels to be announced closer to the event.
RFEA President Raul Chapado, who is also a member of both the European Athletics Council and the DNA project steering group, sees the U20 event as an important element of his federation’s long-term strategy to attract and retain young athletes.
“The DNA format is already well established in Spain. We have delivered DNA national championships for both senior and U20 teams and this summer we introduced the concept in Spanish schools with a project we called ‘Jungle Athletics’. I am sure that Castellón will help to increase its popularity.” he said.
In addition to Spain, who will field two 18-athlete (nine men/nine women) teams – the host club and CD Surco Lucena – ten European Athletics Member Federations have confirmed the participation of leading clubs in their countries for the 12-team, tournament-style competition.
Day 1 (17 September) will see two 2.5-hour preliminary matches of 12 disciplines for six teams each leading the teams qualifying for either the A or final on the following day.
Day 2 (18 September): the final team positions in each match will be determined by the last race – ‘The Hunt’ medley relay – which starts from a staggered-start based on the points scored in the first 11 events.
Following the event in Castellón, European Athletics and the RFEA will co-host an online Jungle Athletics/DNA conference to promote the project and develop plans for the continued roll-out of DNA in 2023, which could include an international clubs’ event for senior athletes.
Athletes, club leaders and other members of the athletics community are invited to join the conference, ask questions, and learn more about DNA.
The European DNA U20 Clubs competition in Castellón comes at the end of busy summer for European Athletics events with the first European Athletics Off-Road Running Championships in El Paso, Spain from 1-3 July and then the European Athletics U18 Championships in Jerusalem, Israel from 4-7 July followed by the highlight of the continental outdoor season, the Munich 2022 European Athletics Championships from 15-21 August.