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England athletes face Ashes test

The meeting will take place on Newcastle's quayside
The meeting will take place on Newcastle's quayside

England will face Australia in an athletics meeting with a twist in 2009 as part of the Great North Run weekend.

The two countries, who will contest cricket's Ashes next year, will go head-to-head in a meeting staged on Gateshead's quayside on 19 September.

GNR founder Brendan Foster told BBC Look North: "They are going to be doing sprints, hurdles, distance races, the high jump and pole vault.

"We've been competitors for 100 years but never had a competition."

The event will be held the day before the Great North Run and Foster said it has already received the backing of Olympic pole vault champion Steve Hooker and 100m hurdles silver medallist Sally McLellan.

"We launched it this afternoon and Steve Hooker and Sally McLellan said they thought it was excellent and are looking forward to coming to Tyneside to beat the poms," he added.

We are bringing athletics to the city centre. It will be the first ever Great North City Games

Brendan Foster
"We are going to have a 200m straight course beneath the Sage and the Baltic and we are going to stage a full-blown athletics meeting - the first ever between England and Australia.

"At the end of the day either England will win or Australia will win."

England will meet Australia in the final one-day international of their seven-match series at Durham's Riverside stadium on the day of the Great North Run.

"We hope the cricket team will be down to support us and vice versa," said Foster, who came up with the idea for the Great North Run in 1981.

"We are bringing athletics to the city centre. It will be the first ever Great North City Games and we'll do it in a few other places like Manchester and Sheffield.

"It's a free show. You will be able to watch the best athletes in the world for nothing."

see also
Woods pipped to Great North title
05 Oct 08 |  Disability Sport
Pavey third as Wami seals victory
05 Oct 08 |  Athletics
Dobriskey & Farah win mile races
04 Oct 08 |  Athletics


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