Six Olympic, and seven World Championships gold medallists, plus Great Britain’s Paralympic champion Jonnie Peacock will compete at the Great North CityGames on the NewcastleGateshead quaysides on Saturday.
The innovative event gives fans the opportunity to get closer to the action, and aims to introduce athletics to a whole new audience, by taking the sport out of the stadium and into the city.
The quality line-up at this year’s event will see a host of international superstars compete at the Tyneside venue.
Peacock will race against the USA’s Richard Browne, who he beat in a Paralympic T44 100m record time of 10.90, in front of 80,000 jubilant fans in London’s Olympic Park last summer.
Given their rivalry, it should be another speedy encounter in a field which also includes the Netherland’s former Paralympic javelin bronze medallist Ronald Hertog and Frenchman Jean Baptiste Alaize.
A thrilling 100m hurdles race is on the cards, with current Olympic Champion Sally Pearson of Australia lining up against America’s Dawn Harper- who preceded her as Olympic title holder, but had to be content with silver in 2012 – alongside Harper’s USA teammate Kellie Wells, who finished third in the close race last summer.
Competition between them has been very intense again this year – and the trio have also found World Championships bronze medallist Tiffany Porter, who carries British hopes on Saturday, more than a handful in their frequent match ups.
The men’s 110m hurdles features an awesome start list, featuring Olympic title holder and world record holder Aries Merritt against newly crowned World Champion David Oliver, and their fellow American Ryan Wilson, runner up in Moscow. British Number one Will Sharman will be aiming to prevent a USA 1-2-3.
Christine Ohuruogu the popular British team captain in Russia, who led from the front when she regained the 400m title she had won six years earlier in Osaka, will be assured of a great welcome from the North East crowd.
The 2012 Olympic silver medallist steps down to 150m as do fellow quarter milers Natasha Hastings of the USA and Shana Cox who picked up a 4x400m relay bronze medal for the Brits in Moscow. However Jamaica’s Aleen Bailey a world class sprinter, on paper should hold the upper hand.
Asbel Kiprop the current World and former Olympic champion over 1500m will start as favourite to capture the men’s mile. The Kenyan will be hoping he has recovered from the virus which has blunted his form since his World Championships victory. Leo Manzano the US winner of the London Olympic silver medal will be looking for chinks in his armour.
The men’s 100m sees James Dasaolu, who became Britain’s second fastest ever sprinter with his 9.91 clocking in July, bidding to hold off the challenge of Olympic finalist Ryan Bailey from the USA. Fellow Brits Harry Aikines-Aryeetey and Dwain Chambers complete the field.
In the 150m, Michael Rodgers a late inclusion in Team USA for Moscow, and a 4x100m relay silver medallist, faces the Great CityGames Manchester stalwart Kim Collins.
The St Kitt’s & Nevis ace, a former World 100m gold and bronze medallist, excels in street racing and will be the man to beat. Brits Chris Clarke and James Ellington are also in action.
The women’s 100m features World 4x100m relay bronze medallist Ashley Nelson against fellow British countrywomen Margaret Adeoye – another World 4x400m bronze medallist and Bianca Williams.
The mile sees a tasty head-to-head between Helen Obiri the World Indoor 3000m champion and receiptiant of an outdoors 1500m bronze medal with fellow Kenyan Milcah Chemos who last month claimed the World 3000m steeplechase gold medal
Hannah England, a former World 1500m silver medallist heads the British challenge which also includes the recently returned 800m specialist Jenny Meadows a former World bronze medallist, now recovered from a long injury spell.
The pole vault will feature World bronze medallist Bjorn Otto of Germany against a former winner the Netherland’s Rens Blom. The host nation’s Luke Cutts and Alexander Straub of Germany will also be vaulting.
Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor goes in the long jump against fellow American Michael Hartfield and British represenatives Chris Tomlinson and J.J. Jegede.
The Great North CityGames has become an established highlight in an action packed sporting weekend in the North East. Staged the day before the Bupa Great North Run, the event is once again set to bring world class competition to the NewcastleGateshead Quayside.
Taking place on a unique, purpose built track in the heart of the city, the exciting format lets spectators get up close to the action, and best of all – it’s completely free to spectate. Last year over 25,000 spectators watched performances from some of the most recognisable names in international sport. All the action will be shown live on BBC One & BBC One HD from 13:00 -14:30.