Morpeth athletes at launch of Diamond League in Gateshead

Big time athletics returns to Gateshead Stadium on Sunday August 16th 2020 with the holding of the Muller Grand Prix Meeting.

Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 7:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 9:29 am
Morpeth youngsters at the launch of the Diamond League in Gateshead.
Morpeth youngsters at the launch of the Diamond League in Gateshead.

Part of the IAAF Diamond League Series, it takes place just seven days after the conclusion of the athletics programme at the 32nd Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

It is expected that a host of Olympic stars, hopefully including some British medallists, will grace the North East stage, in front of what is expected to be a capacity crowd.

Amongst those in attendance will be a group of promising ten and eleven-year-old young athletes from both Gateshead and Morpeth Harriers, who attended an organised training session at the stadium on the afternoon of Tuesday 17th December.

The training session was masterminded by British Athletics, and led by GB sprinter Richard Kilty, assisted by Gateshead legend Brendan Foster, in order to get those in attendance prepared for a specially organised relay competition to be held as a warm up appetiser for the crowd at the Grand Prix Meeting.

That relay competition will see those young athletes collectively attempt to match Foster’s 3000m World Record time of 7m35.1s, which he set at the Stadium as far back as 1974.

Despite the cold conditions during the afternoon, the Young Athletes certainly warmed to the occasion, and to also have the chance of meeting up with Kilty and Foster.

The Morpeth Harriers athletes were organised and led by coach Hemant Desai.

Both Morpeth and Gateshead are of course well steeped in development status, however development of the young does not come without the need of regular funding.

Only just recently, the club was dealt a hammer blow when it was announced they had to cancel their annual New Year’s Day event.

The costs involved in having to run that event with road closures would make it prohibitive in terms of cost, so some funds channelled for the development of the sport have ultimately been lost - and the future of young athletes could suffer as a result.

It is hoped that the club can see some pathway forward with Northumberland County Council, in time for their annual 10k Race, normally held in early August.