Gateshead confirmed as Diamond League opener

British venue will kick off 2021 Diamond League season instead of Rabat, as Rome and Oslo events also move

Diamond League organisers have confirmed Gateshead will open the season for World Athletics’ flagship grand prix series with the North East England venue holding the event on May 23.

As reported on Thursday (April 15) it replaces Rabat after the Moroccan city has pulled out of staging the meeting due to coronavirus.

In addition, the Diamond League confirmed Rome’s Pietro Mennea Golden Gala will relocate to the Stadio Luigi Ridolfi in Florence and will be moved from June 4 to June 10, while Oslo’s Bislett Games will be postponed until July 1 to comply with local coronavirus restrictions in Norway.

With an event in Stockholm on July 4 it means athletes can minimise travel as they potentially travel from one Scandinavian venue to another.

Seb Coe, the World Athletics president and Diamond League chair, said: “This is an incredibly important year for our athletes as they prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and less than a year later the World Athletics Championships Oregon22. Competition and training are two very different things so the Wanda Diamond League and our other one-day meetings around the world will give athletes the opportunity to qualify for events, earn World Ranking points and prize money and benchmark their performances against the competition they will face in Tokyo and then Oregon in 2022.

“We are all working hard, in extraordinarily difficult and fast changing circumstances, to deliver events for the athletes rather than cancelling them. I would like to thank all our meeting organisers and the Diamond League board for everything they are doing to deliver what is promising to be a strong and much needed programme of competition from April through to the final event in Zurich in September. Their passion for the sport and flexible and collaborative approach to the challenges should be applauded.”

Gateshead council leader Martin Gannon said: “Hosting world-class athletics events will showcase Gateshead to an international audience helping realise our ambitious plans for growth and regeneration in the next few years.

Pic: Mark Shearman

“Gateshead has a proud history of staging major sporting events with athletics at its heart, so we welcome the opportunity to once again work with British Athletics.

“Events of this scale provide local people with inspiring opportunities to see top athletes perform up close, as well as being able to get involved in the event through volunteering.

“It will also bring a welcome boost to the local economy as well as encouraging participation in supporting activities aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of our local communities.”

On the likelihood of spectators, UK Athletics said: “Subject to the next roadmap milestone being achieved on May 17, it is hoped that there will be an opportunity for spectators to attend, details on the latest information will be released in due course.”

Wanda Diamond League calendar for 2021

Gateshead – May 23
Doha – May 28
Rome/Florence – June 10
Oslo – July 1
Stockholm – July 4
Monaco – July 9
London – July 13
Shanghai – August 14
Eugene – August 21
China – August 22
Lausanne – August 26
Paris – August 28
Brussels – September 3
Zurich – September 9

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