A COMMONWEALTH champion will be preparing for the World Championship stage by competing in a high-profile Tees Valley event.

For the first time since it began a decade ago, this year Stockton will be hosting the annual Great North CityGames.

Having spent 10 years on the NewcastleGateshead Quayside the competition, which marks the build-up to the world-famous Great North Run, will be moved to the Tees Valley.

Competing in the CityGames is heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson who will be taking part in the long jump and the 150m sprint event in the free-to-spectate event on the High Street on Saturday, September 7.

The sportswoman wowed the crowds at the Diamond League meeting in Birmingham last weekend, recording 6.85m in the long jump – her longest jump for four years.

She said: “I can’t wait to compete at Great North CityGames next month.

“I love street athletics meetings and especially when it’s in a location we’ve never been to before.

“Hopefully there’ll be a big crowd there and we can maybe inspire some future Olympians.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said hosting the Great North CityGames is an indication of the continuing growth of the Tees Valley.

He said: “Katarina is a true world-class athlete at the top of her game and to have her racing on the streets of Stockton as part of the Great North CityGames is a real coup.

"This competition, along with events such as BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend and concerts by Take That and Jess Glynne, shows that the Tees Valley is now taken seriously as a place that can successfully host major events.

“We’re not slowing down, with more great things set to come, not least hosting a major fixture as part of the Rugby League World Cup 2021, along with hosting a top-tier international team.”

Councillor Bob Cook, Leader of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council added the CityGames were an opportunity to showcase the Tees Valley.

He said: “Our High Street will be transformed for the Great North CityGames and I’m delighted Katarina will be joining us for the celebrations.

“This will be an unmissable event, showcasing the best athletes and drawing huge crowds to our town centre.”