Commonwealth Games sees seven local competitors gunning for glory

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THE North East is well represented in the England team for next month’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Seven athletes will make the short journey over the border for the friendly Games that begin on Sunday, July 27.

And among them are a mixture of sprinters and field event athletes to show that the region is not just renowned for its endurance runners.

Sunderland Stroller Alyson Dixon will be first up for the Games when the marathon gets the seven-day programme underway on the Sunday.

She said: “A lot of friends and supporters say they are going to Glasgow to watch the marathon so I should have a lot of support around the course.”

The 35-year-old will be one of three English runners competing in the women’s marathon.

It was last year’s Brighton Marathon, where she clocked 2hr.31min.08sec that earned her a place at her first major championships since she finished 42nd in the World Championships in Daegu in 2011.

The marathon can be such an unpredictable event that it’s always very difficult to predict the outcome.

But for sure, Dixon will be up against a stellar field that will have three top Kenyans included, who are capable of clocking a time near the 2hr 20min mark.

But it is not just the Kenyans that you have to watch out for, as Australia, New Zealand and Mozambique could also be in the mix when the medals are awarded.

The Silksworth runner added: “The field will be very strong, but with it being a championship marathon, form can go out of the window.”

Olympic finalist Laura Weightman (Morpeth) is named for the 1500 metres and Wallsend’s Sonia Samuels will be in the 10,000m.

Former Gateshead Harrier Niall Flannery, now with Newham and Essex Beagles, is named for the 400m hurdles and world indoor 60m champion Richard Kilty runs in the 100m as well as the 4x100m relay.

Chris Tomlinson, sixth in the London Olympics, is in the long jump, while former Gateshead Harrier Sally Scott is in the pole vault.

The 24-year-old Kilty caused a sensation when he won the World Indoor 100m title in February.

He will make his major outdoor competition debut in an individual event after being controversially snubbed for the 2012 Olympics.

Flannery is the find of the season so far, having improved with every outing. He has sliced his personal best from last year’s mark (49.62) to that recently recorded in the Czech Republic (48.80).

Tomlinson will line up alongside Olympic champion Greg Rutherford in the long jump.

The Teessider failed to have a valid jump recorded at the Commonwealth Games final in Delhi in 2010.

Steve Cram coached Weightman, will also have to contend with a trio of Kenya athletes.

The African nation has a bunch of athletes who have run quicker than the 22-year-old. She was beaten by two of them in Eugene.

Samuels has represented GB four times in the World Cross-Country Championships and the 35-year-old has a best time of 32:39.36 for 10,000m.

The 23-year-old Scott gains her first international honour since 2008. She has cleared 4.15m this year.

H Inform Craig Isherwood won the Staveley Stampede 10k multi-terrain race. The Sunderland Harrier clocked 33.16.

H Over 500 entries have been received for the Lambton Run on Sunday.

This is more than double the numbers which competed last year.

The multi-terrain race starts at 10am and the 3k Fun Run is off at 10.05am.