Diamond League: Gateshead to host first fixture of the season

Gateshead International Stadium
Gateshead International Stadium has previously held Diamond League events as well as European Athletics Championships

Gateshead will host the first Diamond League fixture of the season on 23 May because coronavirus restrictions in Morocco are stopping the event from behind held in its capital city Rabat.

The meet is an important build-up event for the rearranged Tokyo Olympics.

UK Athletics chief Joanna Coates said the UK was a "lower risk option for athletes" because of the success of the vaccine rollout.

She added that a home-based event will help British athletes' preparations.

It is hoped some fans may be able to attend, subject to England's easing of coronavirus restrictions as outlined in the government's roadmap out of lockdown.

"We know our athletes need more opportunities to compete at a high level this year and that Covid-19 has been a challenge for us all," she said. "Even with exemptions for elite sport, many athletes do not wish to take the additional risk of contracting the virus so close to the Games."

The Diamond League meeting in Rome, initially scheduled for 4 June, will now be held on 10 June in Florence, while Oslo's Bislett Games has moved back from 10 June to 1 July.

The Olympics are due to begin on 23 July with the athletics programme starting on 30 July.

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