Great games overture to Great North Run's Gold Label race

Great games overture to Great North Run's Gold Label race

Provided by IAAF

Newcastle, UK - GBR takes on a USA Select team in the 2011 Great North City Games (Newcastle-Gateshead Quayside, this Saturday 17 September) with World 5000m gold medallist, Mo Farah, flying the flag for the host country while the USA boasts no fewer than six World medallists from Daegu.

The Great City Games is the curtain raiser to a weekend of athletics that concludes with Sunday’s (18) Great North Run Half Marathon which is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

On Saturday afternoon, Farah goes in the 2 Miles and is up against the USA’s Scott Bauhs, third in the US trials 10,000m. Andy Turner has a tougher assignment in the Hurdles where he takes on World champion, Jason Richardson, and the man Turner squeezed out of bronze in Korea, David Oliver, fastest man in the world this season and third fastest in history.

World 5000m silver, Bernard Lagat USA, faces Britain’s 800m trials winner, Andrew Osagie, in the Mile, while double World silver, Walter Dix USA, lines up in the 150m against Britain’s Marlon Devonish and James Ellington.

The Gateshead public will get a close look at the quadruple World Long Jump champion, Dwight Phillips USA.

In the 100m, American sub-10sec-performer Ivory Williams and high hurdler Jeff Porter challenge Harry Aikines Aryeetey and Christian Malcolm.

For the women, newly crowned World sprint queen, Carmelita Jeter USA, teams up with Virginia Crawford to confront GBR’s Anyika Onuora and Abi Oyepitan over 150m.

In the Hurdles, the USA Olympic champion Dawn Harper and World silver Danielle Carruthers will provide quality opposition for Ashley Helsby and Sarah McGreavy.

Surprise World 1500m silver Hannah England faces off against 800m specialist, Jenny Meadows and the USA’s Gabriele Anderson in the Mile.

After a tearful early exit from the Pole Vault in Daegu, 4.70m performer, Britain’s Holly Bleasdale confronts Beijing Olympics 8th placer, April Steiner-Bennett and Becky Holliday.

This is the third year that Gateshead has hosted the Great City Games which brings Track and Field up close and personal to the general public.

Mutai vs Lel

After his racing duties on Saturday, Farah becomes a starter for Sunday morning’s Great North Run where he will send 54,000 runners on their way from Newcastle to South Shields.

At the head of the field, reigning London Marathon champion, Emmanuel Mutai, and fellow Kenyan, Martin Lel, will lock horns.

Both have a swift 59:30 clocking to their names for the Half Marathon distance, but Lel has won the GNR twice as well as a World Half Marathon title under his belt, not to mention his three London Marathon titles.

Mutai is in the form of his life, as his 2:04:40 in London testifies, the fifth fastest time ever for the full distance.

But these two will not have things all their own way with Commonwealth Champion, John Kelai of Kenya making his debut in the North-East.

Also in the line-up is Morrocco’s Jaouad Gharib, twice Marathon World Champion and Beijing Olympic silver medallist.

French record holder for the distance, Abdellatif Meftah (60:46PB), will be in attendance as will Mexican Olympian, Juan-Luis Barrios, whose fastest time for the half came when he was fifth here three years ago.

A possible surprise could come from Kenya’s Jonathan Maiyo who has a 59:08 clocking to his name from Rotterdam three years ago, though in Yangzhou in April he could manage no higher than fourth with 62:28.

Adere looks for third victory

On the women’s side, Berhane Adere of Ethiopia is pitching for her third win here while she will have 2009 runaway winner, Jessica Augusto of Portugal, to contend with. Women’s Commonwealth Champion, Irene Jerotich, represents the Kenyan challenge.

A double-pronged British attack comes from Jo Pavey, third here in 2008, and Mara Yamauchi.

Pavey struck silver in the Commonwealth Games 5000m while Yamauchi’s best performance on the international stage came in the Beijing Olympic Marathon where she came in sixth.

Both women missed out on the recent World Championships because of injury, but both are now ready to test themselves against strong international rivals.

European Indoor 3000m Champion, Britain’s Helen Clitheroe, makes her debut over the distance.

Michael Butcher for the IAAF