Street athletics, a concept championed by, among others, the newly-appointed President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Sebastian Coe, is set to go global following the announcement of plans for a Great World CityGames.
The Great Run Company, organisers of the Great CityGames in Manchester and this weekend’s Great North CityGames in Newcastle-Gateshead, say Australia is keen to stage an event in 2017, with a number of other “ambitious cities” around the world interested in holding a CityGames meeting from September to March.
“The CityGames was conceived in Gateshead, born in Manchester and is now ready to go worldwide,” said Brendan Foster, The Great Run Company chairman.
There are rumours the United Arab Emirates is interested in being part of the series, which Mark Hollinshead, chief executive of The Great Run Company, claimed it is likely to include four events initially, building up ideally to 10.
Meetings will include sprints, jumps, hurdles, shot put and road races.
Hollinshead added that the plans had the support of the IAAF.
“We’re taking athletics to the fans rather than taking the fans to athletics,” he said.
At a presentation held before the Great North CityGames at the Baltic Centre on Newcastle-Gateshead Quayside, Britain’s Olympic, world, European and Commonwealth long jump champion Greg Rutherford said: “When I plan my season I usually put Manchester at the start in May and Newcastle at the end in September and then we work on filling everything in between.
“These meetings are that important to me and so much fun.”
A worldwide series of street athletics events was prominent in the manifesto for the IAAF Presidential post presented by Coe, who commented recently that the idea of street games “takes athletes to new iconic venues and will reach new fans".
Hollinshead added: “It is innovative and this is the perfect time for it to happen.”