European Athletics have announced they have agreed to be part of the Minsk 2019 European Games with an “innovative event” set to feature.
Svein Arne Hansen, President of European Athletics, told insidethegames earlier this month he would hold talks with the Belarusian organisers in order to have more athletics competitions part of the event.
The Norwegian stated European Athletics were working with the organisers on delivering a format for athletics competition at the Games, which will be the second edition.
It has now been confirmed athletics will be part of the Games, with more details on the format set to be revealed in April.
“It will be a new athletics product,” a European Athletics spokesperson told insidethegames.
“European Athletics is now working on the development of this product.”
At the inaugural event in Baku last year, the athletics competition comprised the European Athletics Team Championships Third League competition which involved the host nation Azerbaijan.
Hansen had dismissed the prospect that the same level of competition would feature in Minsk
Maksim Ryzhenkov, first vice-president of the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Belarus, had been strongly in favour of having athletics competition feature at Minsk 2019.
He has claimed preference would be given to sports offering qualification for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo when it came to inclusion on the sport programme.
The most likely make-up of the programme looks at the moment like acrobatics, boxing, canoeing, road and track cycling, artistic and rhythmic gymnastics, judo, rowing, sambo, table tennis, trampoline tumbling, table tennis and freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling.
Of those sports, only two – acrobatics and sambo – would not be able to offer qualification as neither are Olympic disciplines.
It was revealed in October that Belarus plans to spend only $40 million ($32 million/€38 million) on organising Minsk 2019 and that it could feature as few as 12 sports.
Azerbaijan invested at least $1.2 billion (£948 million/€1.1 billion) in staging the 2015 event, although the figure was widely thought to be much higher.
Athletics will be one of sports at the inaugural European Championships, with competition taking place in Berlin.
The majority of events at the multi-sport Championships are to be held in Glasgow, where aquatics, cycling, golf, gymnastics, rowing and triathlon will take place.
By Michael Pavitt
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.