When the IAAF Continental Cup Ostrava 2018 gets underway on Saturday before a packed house at Ostrava’s Mestsky Stadium, one of the IAAF’s most venerable competitions will be sporting an updated look.

The Continental Cup, which began as the World Cup in 1977, is the IAAF’s oldest in-stadium competition, this weekend celebrating its 13th edition, the third as the Continental Cup. Taking to heart the IAAF’s emphasis on introducing innovative approaches to its competitions, the Ostrava 2018 Local Organising Committee has incorporated several changes to the programme that promise to bring added excitement and drama to the sold-out two-day event. Among them are qualification and elimination phases in the horizontal jumps, throws and some middle distance races.

“I was delighted that the Czech federation were really prepared to pick up the baton when I said I wanted innovation, when we wanted challenging change,” said IAAF President Sebastian Coe at a press conference this afternoon with the weekend’s Continental Cup Team Captains and Team Representatives.

“There will be concepts and formats that you will see over the next couple of days that I think we can understand and learn from, and absorb and adapt.

“We want to be innovative, we want to be imaginative,” Coe continued. “Not everything we’re going to try is going to work out the first time around. The athletes seated next to me know that to succeed, you sometimes need to road-test and do things differently. And that’s really what we’re about.”

Libor Varhanik, President of the Czech Athletics Federation and the Ostrava 2018 Local Organising Committee, also shared his excitement ahead of what will be this year’s largest sporting event in the Czech Republic.

“We are delighted that we will have a packed stadium,” he said. “The interest was huge and we’ve sold out many days ago. That’s a very good sign for athletics in this country. And for athletics in general.”

For more from this afternoon’s official pre-meet press conference see our stories on Africa team representatives Josee Marie Ta Lou and Julius Yego, America’s team representatives Caterine Ibarguen and Christian Taylor, Asia-Pacific team representatives Abderrahman Samba and Dani Stevens, and Europe team representatives Katerina Stefanidi and Renaud Lavillenie.

Start lists available

The start lists for the IAAF Continental Cup Ostrava 2018 are now available. You can view them via the competition timetable. Action begins at 14:30 on Saturday.