Credit British Athletics

World champion Dina Asher-Smith (GBR, coach: John Blackie, club: Blackheath & Bromley) will start her competitive countdown to this summer’s Olympic Games by taking on a world-class field in the 100 metres on home soil at the Müller Grand Prix Gateshead on Sunday 23rd May.

The event is the first meeting in the 2021 Wanda Diamond League series and Asher-Smith could hardly have picked a tougher race to begin her season as she faces Jamaican duo Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson-Herah, plus in-form American Sha’Carri Richardson.

Fraser-Pryce won Olympic 100m gold in 2008 and 2012, whereas in 2019 she beat Asher-Smith in Doha to claim her fourth world 100m title. Thompson-Herah is the reigning Olympic 100m and 200m champion. Richardson, meanwhile, clocked a sizzling 10.72 earlier this month to go sixth on the world all-time rankings.

Asher-Smith won the world 200m title in Doha two years ago and her only competitions so far in 2021 have been two indoor 60m races in Germany. The British record-holder said: “I’m so excited to be running at the Müller Grand Prix Gateshead. It’s going to be my first Diamond League of 2021 and my first Diamond League since 2019 and I can’t wait. It’s been a long time coming!

“I’m so excited to get back out there, running the 100m. It’s going to be so much fun. So 23rd of May, here we come!”

The first Wanda Diamond League event of 2021 was due to take place in Rabat but has been moved to Gateshead due to the coronavirus pandemic. It means Gateshead International Stadium will be staging its first international grand prix meeting since 2010 and it will offer welcome competitive opportunities to British athletes ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

These include athletes on the Futures Academy Programme supported by Nike such as Amy Hunt (Joe McDonnell; Charnwood). The world under-18 record-holder for 200m is part of the 100m field in Gateshead with Asher-Smith – a line-up that is so busy it will require heats at the start of the programme before a final later in the evening.

Over the years there have been many historic performances at Gateshead International Stadium. In 2006 Asafa Powell equalled the 100m world record of 9.77 seconds, while Brendan Foster smashed the 3000m world record there with 7:35.2 in 1974. In the field, world pole vault records have been broken at Gateshead by Daniela Bartova in 1995 and Yelena Isinbayeva in 2003 and 2004.

The Müller Grand Prix Gateshead will be broadcast live internationally from 7pm-9pm, but the meeting will start at 6pm with a series of para athletics events, as well as some of the Wanda Diamond League field competitions.

British Athletics looks forward to welcoming back fans in some capacity for next month’s event and is taking every step to remain as flexible as possible in order to manage ticket distribution accordingly. As a result tickets will go on sale during the week commencing 10th May, allowing for the maximum number of fans allowed to attend in line with the latest government roadmap announcement. Further updates will be released next week.

To be in with a chance of getting tickets, fans are encouraged to sign up here for all the latest information: www.britishathletics.org.uk/events-and-tickets/muller-grand-prix-gateshead-2021