Teams announced for DNA Matchup in Madrid
17 February 2023

As local organisers make their final arrangements, leaders of the six competing teams have announced the official line-ups for the first-ever European Athletics DNA U20 indoor match, billed as the ‘Matchup in Madrid’ hosted by the Royal Spanish Athletics Federation (RFEA) on 22 February.

The event will draw more than 100 of Europe’s top U20 athletes from the Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Ireland and Portugal to take on hosts Spain in the 11-discipline exhibition, now taking place in the afternoon just prior to Madrid’s World Athletics Gold Tour meeting after being moved forward from its original slot as a test event for next month’s European Athletics Indoor Championships in Istanbul.

Following their experience of competing under professional-level conditions in Madrid’s Gallur Municipal Sports Centre, the match participants will be invited as guests to watch the senior athletes perform in the evening.

“Everything will be exactly the same for both competitions – same track, same officials, same timing system, same scoreboard,” said Luis Saladie, the RFEA’s Director of Competitions.

“I am sure it will be a really memorable experience for everyone involved.”

Saladie added that he and his RFEA colleagues are hoping the afternoon’s match will yield a similar result to last year’s inaugural DNA indoor event in Glasgow, Scotland, where Spain’s senior team took home the DNA trophy.

Since Glasgow, Spain has been a DNA leader in other ways, first by adapting DNA for use in school settings as a part of its EU-funded Jungle Athletics project and then by hosting the first DNA U20 Clubs event last summer in Castellon.

DNA Project Manager Marcel Wakim said European Athletics “really appreciates that the RFEA was willing to take pressure off of Istanbul and, by linking the match to a top one-day meeting, highlight that DNA is a complementary format that can bring additional value to our sport.”

“We will all miss the team from Turkey, which everyone anticipated would be very strong but won’t be able to join us because of last week’s tragic earthquake. However, we are grateful that the team from Portugal, another country with great interest in DNA, has been able to step in at short notice.

According to Wakim, the match has been strongly promoted to the athletics community in the participating countries through a social media campaign featuring selected athletes that is similar to the campaigns before the Glasgow and Castellon events.

Looking to the match itself, Wakim said that he expects there to be special interest on the unusual 2x2x200 relay, where teams of one male and one female will run alternate 200 metre segments and then do it a second time to complete the race.

“This relay, the head-to-head format in the field events and, of course, the final event, the Hunt, are all meant to give DNA something different that will attract younger audiences watching on their smartphones while staying true to the essence of athletics – running, jumping and throwing.

The event – including a special live preview show ‘DNA Inside Track’ – will be streamed live on YouTube, and fans can set a reminder for both streams now at (preview show) and (match stream).

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