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Toughest test for athletes.

Byline: By Bill McGuirk

In a year when the Olympic decathlon champion is hailed as the greatest all-round athlete, another event will be held simultaneously on Tyneside claiming to be `the world's toughest athletics competition'.

On August 21-22, Gateshead International Stadium will host the World Championships in Ultra Multi Events, namely the Icosathlon for men, which consists of a double decathlon (20 events), and the Tetradecathlon for women, comprising a double heptathlon (14 events), all of which have to be completed inside two days.

The competition, now in its 23rd year, originated in the Baltic countries and moves back to the North East for the third time, having been introduced to the UK by Richard Hunter in Hexham in 1999.

Since then, the competition has been held in the USA, Australia and other European countries.

Organiser Hunter has been inundated with entries this year, around 50 having already confirmed.

"Athletes will be travelling from all corners of the world to take part in the longest two days of combined event athletics you can imagine," said Hunter, who has helped put the North East to the forefront of multi events in the UK.

"So far, athletes from 12 countries, including Japan, Australia and USA, have already entered and we are expecting many more in the coming weeks.

"While the serious decathletes and heptathletes will be lining up in the heat of Athens, there's no doubt that this summer will produce some great all-round performances at the International Stadium."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 29, 2004
Words:247
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