By Owen Morgan
Welsh athletes will take part in a revolutionary new indoor competition in Glasgow next year.
Dynamic New Athletics Indoor (DNA) is a new mixed-gender, fast-paced, short, team athletics event, heading to Emirates Arena on 5 February 2022.
A 16-strong Welsh team will take on England, Scotland, Ireland, Spain and Turkey.
The six teams will be competing across 10 disciplines vying to be crowned the Dynamic New Athletics Indoor Champions 2022.
This will be the first-ever international indoor version of the previously launched outdoor Dynamic New Athletics event.
Welsh Athletics CEO James Williams has welcomed both the exciting new format and the added opportunity for athletes to represent Wales on the international stage.
Williams said: “The beauty for us is that it’s Wales that is competing not British Athletics, so our athletes get an opportunity to compete in a top quality event against some top quality opposition.
“Athletes like Becca Chapman, who might be chasing the Commonwealth standard, could be thinking ‘where am I going to get the standard, where will I get the opportunity to compete’, this will be available for her because long jump is one of the competitions included.
“So it’s just another way for us to support our athletes to have the best level of competitions.
“All of our athletes are getting more and better opportunities to compete and to achieve what they want to achieve.”
Among the track races will be mixed relays, while field events will feature head to heads. For example, two shot putters will compete against each other and the winner will go through to the next round.
The competition climaxes in a mixed relay called “the hunt” where the team leading on points going into the final event sets off first, followed by the second placed team and so on.
Williams welcomes the new innovative format.“We as a sport have to try new things. I think one of the beauties of our sport is its simplicity in the pure aspect of run, jump and throw.
“But sometimes that’s also our Achilles heel when we don’t embrace the modernisation agenda, we don’t embrace different formats maybe as quickly as we should.
“So an event like this, I think it’s vitally important that we as a sport, embrace it, we try it and we use it as a springboard for future events as well.
“I think this is what people want now, the short, sharp competitions and I just think it’s great that we can see it first hand, we can be a part of it. And who knows, maybe we could adopt something similar in Wales going forward?”
However, Williams, himself a former Welsh international athlete, says it’s important the sport doesn’t stray too far from its basics as it bids to modernise.
“I think it’s a fine balance between doing something that engages and enthusespeople but at the same time it isn’t a corny format,” says Williams.
“It needs to still be track and field but at the same time, let’s give different ways of delivering that a chance and see what comes of it.“
The new athletics event follows the success of sports like cricket in developing short forms of their traditional formats.
“All sports are trying it,” says Williams. “It’s about trying to attract new people into our sport or trying to attract commercial interest into our sport.
“The viewing figures for the Olympics show that there’s an interest and passion for athletics, we just need to ensure that the way we present our events gets through to that next generation of people who can start to love the sport much earlier.
“We often find that people who find our sport early on stay with our sport and continue that love of athletics as they grow older.
“We want to embrace new audiences and hopefully the sport can then continue to grow and develop.”
Cherry Alexander, Vice President of European Athletics, who are organising the event alongside Glasgow Life and Event Scotland said: “Our aim is to create an environment for athletes to showcase their energy and talent and provide a valuable opportunity for athletes in the UK to earn world ranking points.”
What is Dynamic New Athletics Indoor?