Athletics: Pascoe to try shows based on pop music

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The Independent Online
THE former hurdler Alan Pascoe launched his vision for the future of British athletics yesterday by promising to promote its performers like pop stars.

Pascoe, who was last week given the job of promoting the major domestic meetings, plans to revolutionise the way they are staged. Individual events will be highlighted with music, lights and an enhanced sound system, while the field in the non-track events will be cut to put more focus on the leading names.

"The set-up will be more akin to pop groups rather than an amateur sport," said Pascoe, the former Commonwealth and European 400m hurdles champion. He unveiled his vision when launching this summer's British Grand Prix which takes place at Sheffield's Don Valley Stadium on 2 August.

"British athletics has got so many star names - probably more stars than the England soccer team and certainly more than England's cricket team at the moment and we want to build on that," Pascoe said.

The high jumper Steve Smith is one of the top names already confirmed for the Grand Prix in Sheffield. The Olympic bronze medallist said: "The spectators need to be able to play their part, like they do in a theatre."

Other names already confirmed include Britain's triple jump world indoor record holder, Ashia Hansen, and the former javelin world record holder, Steve Backley.