By Gary Smith, World-Track
GATESHEAD — Organisers of the Gateshead international meeting are buzzing about the possibilities of having the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, competing at the UK-based leg of the Diamond League meeting next season.
Bolt, the Olympic and World sprint double champion from Beijing and Berlin, respectively, has agreed to compete in seven of the meetings and Gateshead councillor Linda Green is optimistic about the Jamaican competing at the Aviva British Grand Prix at Gateshead on July 10.
“This is an immensely exciting event for Gateshead,” Green told ChronicleLive.
“The new format looks set to bring even more exciting competition to athletics at the Gateshead International Stadium.
“Elite athletes from across the globe will be right here in competition for not only top prize money but also crucial points in what is 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.”
Bolt, who on Sunday was named World Athlete of the Year for the second successive season, has also drawn compliments from Niels de Vos, Chief Executive of UKA.
“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,” said de Vos.
“Anyone who saw him run in the Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace last year will understand what he brings to the sport.
“He is a global ambassador for athletics and with the other outstanding athletes announced, I am sure there will be a huge demand for tickets for both our Diamond League events here in the UK.”
Two of Bolt’s main challengers, American Tyson Gay and Jamaican Asafa Powell who finished second and third behind him at the world championships in August, are set to join the sport’s superstar in next year’s inaugural competition.
Several top British athletes, such as world champions Jessica Ennis and Phillips Idowu are also set to compete in the multi-million dollar Diamond League event.