News from Velenje: European Cross Country Championships, by Alfons Juck, note by Larry Eder

Thumbnail image for Lebid_SergeyBend-CampaccioXC09.JPG
Sergey Lebid, CampaccioXC09, photo by

Sergey Lebid is the king of European Cross country. The man has also competed in all 18 of the SPAR European Cross Country Championships. 489 competitors will be running from 33 countries in the races held on Sunday, December 11 in Velenje, Slovania.

Congrats to Edward Cheserek and Molly Seidel who both won the FootLocker XC Championships in San Diego, California today!

Bett over Karoki
MELBOURNE (AUS, Dec 10): Zatopek:10 ended at Lakeside Stadium in Albert Park with fast times for Kenyans. Emmanuel Bett clocked 27:39.33 after thrilling finish with Bitan Karoki 27:40.11. Bett achieved under 27 last September in Brussels. Third place for Olympic medalist Micah Kogo 27:50.50. Fourth Ben St. Lawrence is Australian champion 28:01.68 (unfortunately no olympic qualifier). National record holder Craig Mottram got 28:52.20 as 7th. In the women race Kenyan champs 1500 m medalist and sub 1:10 half-marathon runner Joyce Chepkirui in her first track 10 000 m got 31:26.10. Second 2008 World CC Champion Emily Chebet improved her PB to 31:30.22. Third Emily Brichacek won the national title in 33:02.55. The stadium was oficially opened for the public with the meet. From other events to note steeple of former olympic winner Reuben Kosgei 8:39.38, discus by world champion Dani Samuels (59.10). In the women 1500 m Bridey Delaney achieved 4:15.76 ahead of Lisa Corrigan 4:16.90. In non-traditional events Joshua Ross got 9.79 (-0.3) at 100 yards and Tim Sayer 33.85 at 300 m.


BIRTHDAYS: Three runners will have something more to celebrate on Sunday than just competing. It's also the birthday of Great Britain's Elle Baker (who turns 28 and runs in the senior women's race), The Netherlands' Edwin de Vries (19, junior men) and Austria's Tanja Eberhart (22, U23 women).

OLDEST/YOUNGEST: Oldest male competitor is French Moktar Benhari aged 37and oldest female Spain´s  Elena Maria Espeso who is 39 years old. On the other side the youngest in junior categories are 16 years old Croatian Ivan Malic and Turkish girl Emine Hatun Tuna.

ERDOGAN: Title defender in the U23 category Meryem Erdogan from Turkey is not competing because of the injury. She had also difficulties during the summer when she did not finish the races at the European U23 Championships.

NUMBERS: Final start list has record number of 489 participants from 33 countries. The biggest number is in junior men´s race 114 from 26 countries, junior women 93 from 23. In the U23 races women are 44 from 18 countries and men 99 from 27 and in the senior races 55 women from 17 countries and 77 men from 26 countries.

WIRZ: At the official European Athletics and Velenje 2011 Local Organising Committee press-conference on the eve of the 18th SPAR European Cross Country Championships the President of European Athletics, Hansjörg Wirz, stressed just how important cross country is for athletes: "If athletes want to be good at track, they have to practice cross country. Road does not help much. Cross country is essential to success." In recent years, the President felt that this equation had been lost sight of, but now he stressed that the connection between the two branches of athletics is as valid as ever.  Informs European Athletics.

LEBID: Ukrainian CC king Sergiy Lebid said for IAAF: "I missed one month of training last month, I was in the Russian mountains and there was lots of snow, so we couldn't train. So because of that I don't know what kind of shape I'm really in. I won't really now until the race tomorrow." He is the only athlete to compete in all 18 editions of the event.


KINGSTON (JAM):  The man who ruled the world in sprint hurdling in the late 40's and early 50's, Harrison Dillard will be coming to Jamaica this week for a 7 day visit. The Cleveland born, Dillard inspired by the great Jesse Owens, also from that state and attended the same high school, will be accompanied to Jamaica by former Calabar High School athlete, Michael McIntosh who is his senior advisor and the author of a book on Dillard's life.

NEW YORK (USA): Race Results Weekly informs that total of 383 athletes have qualified for the 2012 USA Olympic Marathon Trials next month in Houston, despite tighter qualifying standards when compared to 2008.  Website counts 158 men and 225 women as qualifying for the 2012 race, compared to 179 men and 181 women who had qualified for the 2008 Trials, an increase of 6%.

LAUSANNE (SUI): Insidethegames informs that Lamine Diack, President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), continued to insist that he had done nothing wrong despite receiving a warning from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Ethics Commission for receiving money from marketing company ISL. 


AMES (USA, Dec 9): Fast 60 m at Cyclone Holidays Preview indoor meet by Jamaican Romel Lewis with 6.67 personal best at 60 m.

SION (SUI, Dec 10): Kenyan wins at 43rd Course d´Noel road race. Titus Mbishei won the 7 km in 19:25.0 ahead of Eritrean Abraham Tadesse 19:42.3 and Bernard Matheka 19:50.6. Caroline Chepwkony was the best in women´s 5 km in 15:51.2 ahead of her team-mate Jane Muia 15:57.6 and Briton Jessica Coulson 16:06.0.


FRANKFURT (GER): Correct the information from EME NEWS (DEC 9, 2011) about German Championships in 2012. The combined events championships will be held for U20 and U18 categories, the only one missing will be U16 event.

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