Continuing its strong commitment to Dynamic New Athletics (DNA), the Spanish athletics federation is set to host the first European Athletics DNA U20 indoor international match, a battle of six mixed-gender national U20 teams, in Madrid on 22 February.
Previously planned to take place eight days earlier in conjunction with the Istanbul 2023 European Athletics Indoor Championships in Istanbul, the rescheduled match will now be staged in the afternoon prior to the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting at Madrid’s Gallur Sport Centre.
The match will be streamed live in Spanish and English.
The DNA Project Steering Group chairman, European Athletics Vice President Libor Varhanik, explained that match will be an important step in the development and testing process that began with the launch of DNA at the 2019 European Games.
“Engaging young people has always been our key aim as we systematically introduce DNA competitions for teams of club-level and elite performers in both outdoor and indoor settings and then find out what the athletes and fans think,” he said.
“We are grateful that we already have a full field for the match. The link with the World Athletics Indoor Tour meeting creates an excellent opportunity for Spanish fans of classical athletics to witness the DNA format for themselves.”
Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Türkiye and hosts Spain will be represented in Madrid by 18-strong (nine women and nine men) national teams.
Spanish federation president Raul Chapado, who is also a European Athletics Council member as well as a member of the DNA Project Steering Group, commented that DNA gained a strong foothold in Spain after his federation staged national club championships using the format, both indoors and outdoors, and introduced the concept into schools through a European Union-funded project entitled Jungle Athletics.
“Everything I have heard tells me that the athletes taking part really like the concept,” he said. “On top of that, we have seen lot of fan interest since our senior national team won the DNA Indoor International last winter in Glasgow and we hosted the first European DNA U20 Clubs event in Castellon this summer.”
In similar fashion to the two DNA events staged in 2022, the promotion plan for Madrid will include the traditional communications channels of European Athletics and the participating federations while seeking to leverage the social media presence of the individual participants in order to engage their personal networks.
“The data for Glasgow and Castellon confirms that we are reaching a younger demographic than normal for classical athletics and that we are starting to build an international DNA community that is already tens of thousands strong,” said Varhanik.
“Madrid will be another great chance for our communications team to try out new ideas that will generate an online audience for the match and at the same time help the athletes build their own profiles,” he added.
For more information on DNA see: dna.run