CHAMPION sprinter Allyson Felix has been announced to compete in Saturday’s Great North CityGames in Stockton-on-Tees.
The 33-year-old Californian will take on the 150m event on the pop-up track on Stockton High Street on Saturday - and will start as a favourite having earned the accolade as the joint most decorated female in Olympic history.
Felix has six Olympic gold medals to her name with three silver medals earned over a 15-year senior career. She scooped 11 World Championship gold medals with three silvers and two bronze medals.
And, Felix is no stranger to the Great CityGames street athletics meetings, having last competed in the Manchester event a year ago and wowing the crowds previously in 2013 and 2011.
Felix has held the record for fastest 150m in Manchester ever since she clocked 16.36 in 2013 – a then world best time. The 17-time world and Olympic champion was a clear winner on Deansgate and joined the illustrious band of sprinters to have recorded a super-speedy time on the pop-up track which makes its debut in Tees Valley at the weekend.
Felix also set the 200m CityGames record in Manchester back in 2011, recording a then-world leading time for a no-bend 200m race.
This will be her first race in Stockton-on-Tees, however, taking on the 150m distance which she has excelled in the street athletics meetings over the last decade. She lines up alongside British 200m champion Beth Dobbin and compatriot Ashley Henderson.
It is all change for the Great North CityGames for 2019, with the event having spent a decade on NewcastleGateshead Quayside before moving to Tees Valley.
Felix will be the main feature of the day, joining Paralympic stars Jonnie Peacock, Sophie Hahn and Marlou van Rhijn in the free-to-spectate event.
Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, who anchored Great Britain to a famous World Championships gold medal in the 4x100m relay final in London two years ago, will feature in the 150m men’s race alongside Commonwealth gold medallist Harry Aikines Aryeetey. A total of 17 Great Britain athletes destined for Doha later this year will compete in Stockton this weekend.
Veteran champion LaShawn Merritt will take on the 400m taking full advantage of Stockton’s vast high-street in a Great CityGames first. The USA Olympic and World Championships gold medallist will take on a strong field featuring British trio Guy Learmonth, Martyn Rooney and Dwayne Cowan.
Great CityGames events have long been a celebration of both domestic and international athletics talent, and there is plenty of local talent on display this weekend too.
Sprinter Richard Kilty will compete over 100m and 150m, with the Teesside Tornado competing in front of his hometown crowd. Making her CityGames debut will be Dovile Kilty, joining her husband. More often seen as a triple jumper, Dovile will be competing in the women’s long jump alongside USA Olympic and World champion long jumper Tianna Bartoletta.
Also involved is Middlesbrough pole vaulter Charlie Myers, who will aim to make up for missing out on a place in the Great Britain World Championships squad by competing in front of an appreciative home crowd on Saturday.
With a range of events on offer from 100m sprints to the one-mile distance, and including pole-vault and long jump in a specially constructed multi sports arena on Stockton-on-Tees High Street, the Great North CityGames kicks off a weekend of first-class sporting action which includes the Simplyhealth Junior and Mini Great North Run, the Simplyhealth Great North 5k, the Simplyhealth Great Tees 10K and finishes with the world-famous Simplyhealth Great North Run on Sunday.
The event is being supported by Tees Valley Combined Authority and Stockton Borough Council.
The athletics action starts at 11am, and is completely free to spectate with no ticket required.