Britain looks likely to host the first meet of the 2021 Diamond League as it is expected that the Rabat Diamond League will be relocated to Gateshead due to coronavirus concerns in Morocco.
The opening meet, scheduled for May 23, can no longer be held in the Moroccan capital due to continuing COVID-19 worries. However, this offers another chance for British fans to see some of the world’s best athletes ahead of the Anniversary Games leg of the Diamond League in London on July 13.
The move comes just a short time after the Gateshead leg of the Diamond League was removed from the calendar and means that Britain will again host two Diamond League events in a year.
British athletes are expected to have the opportunity to compete on home soil as they continue their preparations for the postponed Tokyo Olympics with UK Athletics said to be deliberating over how best to allow this while keeping them safe.
Should the current Government roadmap stay on track, the event would take place a week after the next phase of restrictions are lifted. This would mean 4000 spectators could be permitted at sporting events although the Gateshead figure could be nearer 2000 to 3000.
UKA and the Diamond League are expected to make official announcements on Friday confirming the event and providing details for athletes and spectators.
Gateshead has a long and proud history of staging world-class athletics. The track saw a world 3000m record from local hero Brendan Foster in 1974, pole vault world records by Yelena Isinbayeva in 2003 and 2004, plus a world 100m record by Asafa Powell in 2006.
It was also the location of the first Diamond League event to take place in the UK in 2010, whereas in 2013 it staged the European Team Championships with Mo Farah among the winners.
Indeed, reports in The Times suggest Farah and Dina Asher-Smith could be among the stars to compete in the 2021 event.