Olympic 4x100m relay champions Darren Campbell, Jason Gardener, Marlon Devonish and Mark Lewis Francis are set to unite for a special sprint relay race at this summer’s Manchester International athletics meeting.
The squad memorably took the gold medal at the Athens games 13 years ago, edging out a strong USA team anchored by Maurice Greene, and capturing the hearts of the nation in the process.
Manchester-born Campbell, whose idea it was for the quartet to return, can’t wait to get back on the track during what promises to be a summer athletics season to remember.
“The Manchester International is all about athletes and spectators having a good time and reminding people what our great sport is all about – competing hard, but also having a great time and putting on a show.
The Olympic gold medal race was one of the greatest experiences of our careers and it feels right to mark a great summer for the sport in this country by digging out our competition kit and reliving that moment, even if the legs move lightly differently to how they used to!
We also recognise that Manchester has experienced a really tough time this year and we’re really keen to support the city and be part of an event that shows what a great sporting place it is.”
The Olympic champions will line up in a special race during the meeting, an event that will also offer the chance for local youngsters to sample what it is like to compete against greats of the sport.
The international takes place on Wednesday 16th August, just three days after the close of the World Championships at the Manchester Regional Arena, and pits an England team against old rivals Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland & Ulster and Ireland, as well the stars of tomorrow representing Great Britain and NI Juniors and a British Athletics League and UK Women’s League team representing the best that the country’s top clubs have to offer.
This year, the event also features the Danish national team, who will relish the opportunity to compete on English soil and to experience the unique atmosphere of an event that last year saw a samba band play in the stadium during the competition.
Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, Councillor Luthfur Rahman, said: “We’re excited to host the second Manchester International, after last year’s successful inaugural event.
“It’s brilliant to know that Darren Campbell, one of the true legends of Manchester athletics, will be dusting off his spikes to take part alongside the rest of the Athens 2004 Olympic champion relay quartet. Darren has inspired countless young Mancunians to pursue their own dreams through the sport and we can’t wait to see him in action again.
“The Manchester International is free for under 16s and will give local young people the chance to experience the thrill of being part of a major athletics event. It will be yet another major attraction in Manchester’s big summer of sport.”
Tickets for the event, which forms a key part of the preparations for the home nations ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games can be purchased from July 1st at www.ticketweb.co.uk/event/ahg1608m and cost £5 for adults, while entry is free for under 16s.