European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen and the European Olympic Committees (EOC) Acting President Janez Kocijančič signed an agreement on Thursday (23) to launch a new athletics event at the second edition of the European Games in Minsk in 2019.
The EOC held a press conference in Zagreb to announce the inclusion of the short, compact and unpredictable new mixed gender team-based format, which will be used for the first time in Belarus.
The press conference outlined the overarching concept of the format with NOCs and national federations informed they will receive specific details in the near future. “I’m proud and honoured to sign a contract with President Janez Kocijančič of the European Olympic Committees for 30 teams to be part of Minsk 2019,” said President Hansen.
The new format will include 10 events, with a focus on the key concepts of athletics: running, jumping and throwing. The events have been chosen based upon the research of European Athletics to establish the most popular disciplines among fans, and will take place one by one over a two-hour period to ensure a fast-paced, interactive and easy-to-follow format.
The scoring system will be simple, with points ranging from 12 (for first place) to two (for sixth place). The final event will be a pursuit-style relay called the “Hunt” with a staggered start based on how many points each team has. The winner of this race will be crowned the overall winner.
The inventive concept, which is designed to present a more alternative, modernised version of the sport and engage a new, youthful audience, will see an increased use of technology to encourage the interaction of fans in the stadium and fans watching at home. There will be up to 30 mixed-gender teams, made up of approximately 23 male and female athletes (including reserves), competing in a knockout format over five days. Teams will have two chances to qualify from the initial six-team quarter-final round, before the semifinal and final rounds, which will also consist of six teams.
“We are delighted to confirm the official collaboration with European Athletics for the Minsk 2019 European Games,” said EOC Acting President Janez Kocijančič at the press conference. “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.”
Athletics is one of 15 sports set to take part at the second edition of the Games, along with Archery, Badminton, 3×3 Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Boxing, Canoe Sprint, Cycling, Gymnastics, Judo, Karate, Sambo, Shooting, Table Tennis, Wrestling