British superstar Dina Asher-Smith will begin her Olympic countdown and defence of the Diamond Trophy on home soil in 2021, as she takes on a star-studded field at the season opener in Gateshead.
Diamond League Champion in the women's 100m in 2019, Asher-Smith will be out to defend her title this season, and kicks off her campaign at the Müller Grand Prix Gateshead on May 23rd.
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 Diamond League meeting since 2010.
Unlike in 2020, this year’s Wanda Diamond League will be a full, structured series in which athletes compete for a place in the Final and a shot at the Diamond Trophy.
In the first 13 meetings, athletes will earn points in a bid to qualify for the Final in Zurich on September 8th and 9th, where they have the chance to be crowned Wanda Diamond League Champion in their chosen discipline.
The 2021 calendar remains subject to further changes depending on the global health situation in the coming months.