Gateshead Diamond League meeting joins list of cancellations


The Gateshead Diamond League meeting has been cancelled dashing the locals’ hopes of seeing top stars once again as they did over a decade ago with the likes of Jamaican star Asafa Powell. AFP/File/FABRICE COFFRINI

The global athletics calendar suffered another blow on Thursday with the cancellation of the Gateshead Diamond League meeting because venue renovations will not be finished by the date of the event September 12.

The cancellation is also a blow for the British athletics federation after its annual showpiece meeting, the two-day Anniversary Games in London on July 4-5, was cancelled earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Gateshead Diamond League meeting had been keenly anticipated by locals who have not seen top-level athletics at the stadium in northeast England since 2010. Jamaican Asafa Powell equalled the 100 metres world record there in 2006.

Britain’s heptathlon world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson would have been the headline attraction this year.

The meeting had already been postponed from August 16 and thge stadium was due its track resurfaced and floodlighting installed as part of a £1.3 million ($1.7 million) investment.

However, delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic to those works has forced the hand of the organisers.

“Time has ultimately defeated us to ensure that international athletes can compete in a safe manner and to their full potential,” said Gateshead Council and British Athletics in a statement.

Gateshead is to stage a Grand Prix meeting in 2021 and 2024 as part of a deal agreed in 2019.

The delayed and shortened Diamond League season is due to start in Monaco on August 14.

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