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UK to welcome top international athletes to the Diamond League

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Usain Bolt

01 December 2009

The world’s best sprinters, Usain Bolt, Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell are just three of the names unveiled to compete in next year’s inaugural multi-million dollar Diamond League, with UK events; Aviva British Grand Prix at Gateshead International Stadium on July 10 and Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace on 13-14 August.

The IAAF has announced that World and Olympic Champion and record holder Usain Bolt has been contracted  alongside Tyson Gay (100m, USA), Asafa Powell (100m JAM), Kenenisa Bekele(10,000m ETH), Yelena Isinbayeva (Pole Vault RUS), Sanya Richards (400m USA), Blanca Vlasic (High Jump Cro), Andreas Thorkildsen (Javelin Nor) and Stephen Hooker (Pole Vault  AUS).

Gateshead International Stadium (July 10) and Crystal Palace (August 13 & 14) are hosting the two  UK Diamond League events which will see a number of top international and British athletic stars entertaining the British public next summer.

Niels de Vos, Chief Executive of UKA, is delighted with the calibre of the athletes contracted to the Diamond League: "Usain Bolt is the superstar of the sport globally so we hope to have him racing at one or both of our events in 2010. Anyone who saw him run in the Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace last year will understand what he brings to the sport as a whole.  He is a global ambassador for athletics and with the other outstanding athletes announced today such as Gay, Powell and Isinbayeva - who are no strangers to competing and breaking records in front of British crowds - I am sure there will be a huge demand for tickets for both our Diamond League events here in the UK.”

The UK’s number one sprinter Simeon Williamson is eagerly awaiting the competition on home soil next summer:

“I’m really happy that London is now part of the IAAF Diamond League.  It’s a really exciting time for London with so many great sporting events coming to the capital. The Aviva London Grand Prix has always been a fantastic event and I am expecting, with it now being part of the Diamond League, that it will become even better and continue to attract the best calibre of athletes from all over the world. The 100m is the feature event at the moment and I look forward to racing the likes of Usain Bolt, Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell to see how I perform against them.  There is nothing like the electric atmosphere when the best athletes are on the track together, especially in front of the British fans”.

Gateshead Council cabinet member for culture Cllr Linda Green said: “This is an immensely exciting event for Gateshead. The new format looks set to bring even more exciting competition to athletics at the Gateshead International Stadium and across the world.

“Elite athletes from across the globe will be right here in head to head competition for not only top prize money but also crucial points in what is surely going to be a hard fought and much coveted league. It also means Gateshead reinforces its place on the global stage in the top tier of world athletics venues alongside cities like New York, Paris, Zurich and Shanghai.”

Chris Tomlinson, the current British record holder in the long jump, stated:

“Having seen the list of athletes contracted by the Diamond League it really brings home to me how good the Diamond League will be for us as athletes and for the north east public.

The Aviva British Grand Prix next year will be host to some of the world’s best athletes which can only help improve our standards and make for a great day out for sports fans up north.

“I love competing at Gateshead as it still feels like home and friends and family come to cheer me on, the crowd love their sport up here and I can’t wait to see which names Gateshead confirm to compete here – obviously Usain Bolt would be my wish!”

The IAAF Diamond League is composed of 14 meetings spread across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the USA, and will showcase 32 athletics disciplines which have been carefully distributed amongst the meetings. In each discipline there will be an “IAAF Diamond Race” with points available throughout the season. Winners of each Diamond Race get a Diamond Trophy which will include 4 carats of diamonds but more importantly, they will have showed season long consistency to earn the unchallenged honour of being the World Number 1.

Starting in 2010, the IAAF Diamond League will offer more athletes, more earning opportunities with prize money totalling 6.63 MILLION dollars. The IAAF Diamond League will be discussing central contracts with at least the top two athletes in each discipline to secure exciting ‘head to head’ confrontations between the world’s best on a regular basis throughout the IAAF Diamond League season which in 2010 stretches from mid-May to the end of August.

Carol Bell, Head of Programme Development at NewcastleGateshead Initiative said: “The 2009 Aviva Grand Prix attracted a huge number of visitors from outside the region; 60% of spectators had travelled more than 50 miles to attend the event.  We hope to build on this number in next year’s event and the Diamond League status will see more world class athletes performing at Gateshead International Stadium.”

Diamond League in the North East

Aviva British Grand Prix, Gateshead International Stadium  July 10

Diamond League in London

Aviva London Grand Prix, Crystal Palace        August 13 & 14

Follow this link for tickets for the 2010 UKA Indoor and Outdoor events or phone on 0800 055 60 56.