European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen, left, with EOC counterpart Janez Kocijančič ©EOC

An innovative new athletics team competition billed as the future of the sport has been unveiled here today to feature at the second European Games in Minsk in 2019.

The event, entitled Dynamic New Athletics (DNA), will feature the continent's top 30 ranked nations competing across 10 events in a maximum time of two hours.

They will be split into different heats in a knock-out format which is expected to last around five days and see each team compete in between two and four different matches.

Teams will be made up of nine women, eight men and six reserves.

The final event, a mixed-distance pursuit relay known as the "Hunt", will determine the winner with starting positions based on the number of points each team has accumulated throughout the previous nine.

There will be no endurance events, however, with figures involved in the event claiming that their research has indicated less interest in these events from stakeholders including sponsors and spectators.

The five other track events would be the men’s and women’s 100 metres, the men’s 110m hurdles, the women’s 100m hurdles and the mixed 4x400m relay.

No endurance events are expected to feature in the sports programme for the new event ©ITG
No endurance events are expected to feature in the sports programme for the new event ©ITG

The three field events, held in a head-to-head knock-out format, proposed are the women’s long jump, men’s javelin throw and women’s high jump.

Set to complete the line-up is a one-man and one-woman Mini'Athlon combined event, entailing running, jumping and throwing.

Teams will qualify based on their ranking in the European Team Championships.

A Memorandum of Understanding confirming the event was signed here today between European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen and European Olympic Committees counterpart Janez Kocijančič.

"For 100 years, we have been producing the car and finally we have asked the market what kind of car they want," Pierce O'Callaghan, the EOC's European Games senior consultant and a key figure behind the new format, told insidethegames afterwards.

"We have conducted research with broadcasters, young people, social media etc. and these are the formats and events we want.

"Each match will last around the length of a football match - so will suit shorter attention spans.

"Other events, including endurance races, are too long rather than short and snappy.

"We have the full support of the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) and expect this to be the future of the sport."

Officials from the EOC and European Athletics gather following the signing of the deal today ©EOC
Officials from the EOC and European Athletics gather following the signing of the deal today ©EOC

The athletics competition at the inaugural European Games in Baku consisted only of the third tier of the European Team Championships - so was missing the continent's biggest stars.

It will be among 15 sports in the Belarus capital.

Around 6,000 athletes spanning 50 countries are due to complete at an event scheduled for June 21 to 30.

“We are delighted to confirm the official collaboration with European Athletics for the Minsk 2019 European Games, where we will see the future of athletics for the very first time," added Kocijančič today.

"A number of elements of the new format will help take the European Games to the next level after the highly successful inaugural edition in Baku in 2015. 

"The great thing about this new format is that it appeals to every level in the sport. 

"This concept is applicable at a grassroots level and we hope that the elite European athletes taking part at the Games will inspire a new generation of athletic talent.”