Olympic gold medallists Farah, Rutherford and Taylor headline Great North CityGames
Thursday September 13, 2012
Olympic Games gold medallists Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford of Great Britain plus Christian Taylor of the United States will compete at the Great North CityGames on the NewcastleGateshead Quayside this Saturday.
Kicking off the show, Farah will participate in a two mile international guest race, against a strong field from around the world.
The 29-year-old, who made history as the only British athlete ever to win both 5,000m and 10,000m at the same Olympics, will face competition from former Olympic 1,500m bronze medallist Rui Silva from Portugal.
Despite a whirlwind month, which has also seen the birth of his twin daughters, and an inevitably busy schedule of social engagements and media commitments, there is eager anticipation the "Mobot" can attack the CityGames course record of eight minutes 31.00 seconds, set by Craig Mottram two years ago.
Following the invitational event, the team match begins - with a strong GB&NI team taking on their American rivals in a nine event competition.
Rutherford and Taylor, Olympic long jump and triple jump champions, will go head-to-head in Rutherford's specialist event. However, Taylor with his world class jumping reputation will prove tough competition for the home crowd favourite.
Both know they cannot underestimate Will Claye who finished second in the triple jump and third in the long jump in London this summer. The field will be completed by Chris Tomlinson who shares the UK record of 8.35 m with Rutherford.
Rutherford said, "I'm really looking forward to taking part in the Great North CityGames, people are so enthusiastic about sport right now and we have to keep the momentum going.
"The format of this competition is so unique, it attracts a different audience and it's great as an athlete to be able perform so close to a
big crowd, hopefully we can give them a good show. I think for a lot of people taking part it will be their last competition of the season - the
perfect end to an extremely exciting summer."
Team USA have brought a very strong contingent to the fixture including reigning World 110m hurdles title holder and Olympic silver medallist Jason Richardson who set a CityGames record of 13.16 seconds a year ago. Facing him will be Lawrence Clarke, an unexpected but outstanding fourth for Team GB in the Olympic final.
Over 150m the visitors will rely on Wallace Spearmon who narrowly missed out on the Olympic 200m bronze and admits he is again relishing the experience of competing away from a traditional stadium.
"I had so much fun the first time I'm going to go ahead and see what happens, I'm definitely looking forward to it," said Spearmon who earlier this year won over the distance in a speedy 14.87sec on the straight track at the Powerade Great CityGames in Manchester.
The former World 200m silver medallist will run alongside teammate Ryan Bailey, fifth in the Olympic 100m final and a 4x100m relay silver medallist - together they will face Marlon Devonish and Christian Malcolm.
Spearmon added: "It's definitely a good change of scenery for the athletes and spectators, something new to the sport and I think people are very keen to watch it. I like it a lot. It's good for the sport."
Former World 1,500m and 5,000m champion Bernard Lagat, who gave Team USA a winning start to the competition in the mile race last year, is also returning. Last year saw the visitor's triumph 7-3 in front a 15,000 strong crowd. Andrew Osagie, an Olympic 800m finalist, will be in opposition for the host nation and hoping to improve on last year's finish where he placed third behind Lagat and Kyle Miller.
The women's mile features last year's World 1,500m title winner Jenny Simpson of the USA. With fellow American, renowned front runner Shannon Rowbury partnering Simpson, a fast race is anticipated. Hannah England, beaten by Simpson for the World metric mile gold medal in Daegu, will be looking to defending her CityGames crown alongside her teammate 17-year-old Jessica Judd the World Junior Championships 800m runner up.
Holly Bleasdale who won the World Indoor pole vault bronze medal six months ago, was also an Olympic finalist. Holly, who was victorious at the event in 2011, will be hoping for a second successive win, although the USA's Mary Saxer will be a formidable rival.
Darvis "Doc" Patton and Calesio Newman go in the 100m against Dwain Chambers and James Dasaolu. In the women's short sprint, Bianca Knight - who came away with an Olympic 4x100m relay gold medal this summer - in action with Olympian Anyika Onuora the top Briton in the field.
The women's 150m fields Charonda Williams winner of the 2012 Samsung Diamond League 200m jackpot start as favourite although teammate Jeneba Tarmoh and the host nation's Margaret Adeoye will give her a run for her money.
Now entering its fifth year, The Great North CityGames is part of a weekend celebration of sport, which includes, the brand new Bupa Great
North 5k, the Bupa Junior and Mini Great North Run, the Bupa Great North Run Pasta Party and the main event - the 32nd staging of Britain's biggest running event, the Bupa Great North Run. The weekend will see over 60,000 participants and many thousands of spectators taking part.
The Great North CityGames will be shown live on BBC One from 13:00-14:30 on Saturday 15th September, for more information and up to the minute athlete announcements, please visit www.greatcitygames.org.
100m: Calesio Newman, Darvis Patton.
150m: Ryan Bailey, Wallace Spearmon.
110m hurdles: Jason Richardson, Ryan Wilson.
Mile: Daniel Clark, Bernard Lagat, Jordan McNamara,
Long Jump: Will Claye, Christian Taylor.
100m: Mikele Barber, Bianca Knight.
150m: Jeneba Tarmoh, Charanda Williams.
Mile: Brenda Martinez, Anna Pierce, Shannon Rowbury, Jenny Simpson.
Pole Vault: April Bennett, Mary Saxer.
Great Britain & Northern Ireland
100m: Dwain Chambers, James Dasaolu.
150m: Marlon Devonish, Christian Malcolm.
110mH: Alex Al Ameen, Lawrence Clarke.
Mile: James Brewer, Andy Baddeley, Mukhtar Mohammed, Andrewe Osagie.
Long Jump: Greg Rutherford, Chris Tomlinson.
100m: Anyika Onuora, Hayley Jones.
150m: Margaret Adeoye.
Mile: Julia Bleasdale, Hannah England, Jessica Judd.Jemma Simpson.
PV: Holly Bleasdale, Katie Byres.