Gateshead Diamond League meeting joins list of cancellations

Athletics (Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Athletics (Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images)

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 12 September.

The cancellation is also a blow for the British athletics federation after its annual showpiece meeting, the two-day Anniversary Games in London on 4-5 July, 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 16 August and the stadium was due its track resurfaced and floodlighting installed.

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 14 August.

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