23 November 2017

The European Olympic Committees (EOC) Acting President Janez Kocijančič and European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen today signed a landmark agreement to launch the exciting “Dynamic New Athletics” programme at the second edition of the European Games in Minsk in 2019, giving the impetus for the EOC to attract a new, youthful audience.

The two organisations held a joint press conference in Zagreb this afternoon to announce the official inclusion of the short, compact and unpredictable new mixed gender team-based format, which will be used for the first time at the Minsk 2019 European Games. 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. The signature is a further sign of the excellent progression of the organisation of the Games, as well as the benefits of the ongoing strong relationship between the EOC and European Athletics.

The engaging 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 amongst 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 1st place) to 2 (for 6th place). The final event will be a pursuit-style relay, 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 help modernize 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 knock-out format over five days. Teams will have two chances to qualify from the initial six-team quarter-final round, before the semi-final and final rounds, which will also consist of six teams.

EOC Acting President Janez Kocijančič spoke after the press conference, saying:

“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. 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.”

Athletics is one of 15 sports set to take part at the second edition of the Games, where around 6,000 athletes from 50 countries are due to compete from 21-30 June 2019.