This is the first article on Gateshead. More to come on Wednesday!
Not the Anniversary Games.
The Wanda Diamond League Gateshead/London as the website calls it, also known as the MÃ¼ller British Grand Prix, took place in the Gateshead International Stadium. This is Gateshead’s second 2021 Diamond League having hosted the Rabat event at short notice in May. The three-and-a-half-hour program consisted of 24 events. In addition to the 2-hour international feed, there was a 30-minute pre-program for British TV and a pre-pre-program of an hour for the early comers in the stadium.
The first three events were mixed-class para-athletics races. There are issues with mixed-class events as we have documented previously. The positive is that it gave 22 Para-athletes a chance to compete on a big stage as part of a Diamond League program.
The timing of the event – 10 days before the opening ceremony of the Olympics – meant that the field was much weaker than for a normal Anniversary Game. The flip side is that the program included over 60 British athletes, some of whom would not have been included in a normal year.
The program included the Emsley Carr Mile, which has been held since 1953. Previous winners sound like a Hall of Fame of world middle-distance runners – Kip Keino, Jim Ryun, Haile Gebrselassie, Hicham El Guerrouj, Bernard Lagat, Seb Coe, John Walker, Steve Ovett, Said Aouita, Filbert Bayi etc. Sadly with a weakened 2021 field, the race was scheduled before the international feed. The 2021 winner was Elliot Giles, who will run in the 800m in Tokyo, in a PR of 3:52.49. There was also a woman’s mile won by Kate Grace.
Martyn Rooney ran his last ever race. An Olympic medallist in 2008, twice European individual Champion, three times a World Championship medallist, at the age of 34 he has decided to call it a day. He was seventh in 47.74. I will always remember the 2014 European Championship gold and his anchor leg to seven major 4 by 400 medals.
Sandi Morris – finally happily re-united with her poles – won the pole vault with 4.76. Johannes Vetter threw his javelin 85.25 meters. Pedro Pichardo triple-jumped 17.50. There were two sprint relays, as teams practiced for the Games and a men’s 3000m to finish. There were a number of excellent performances by British and international athletes which will be detailed elsewhere.