RunBlogRun opines: The European Cross Country Championships in Chia, Italy were quite successful. Turkey, with athletes who transfered from various countries, won the senior races, and were the focus of some pithy commentary. GBR won team medals in every race. Great to see Poland win its first individual medal.
Cross country is a fine sport that was nearly ruined over the past decade by overlooking of the transfers of national allegiance, difficult sites for travel for various countries and lack of interest by sports public. European Athletics has done some fine things to improve the sport. However, there are still issues to be tackled and we hope Arne Sven Hansen and his team, who are doing so much to elevate European Athletics, tackle the issues in European cross country as they are getting out of hand.
Sports fans will support athletes if they can identify with them. The stories and photos provide a narrative that gives readers insight into the athlete. Local winners are good, athletes overcoming obstacles is another and an athlete who can provide an interview that major news organizations can cover is another way to open the sport up to the sports fans. Many countries are frustrated with the athletic transfer crisis. Countries in Europe either will pull out of cross country, if they have no chance of competing against teams made up of former Kenyans or Ethiopians. This is not fair to the athletes who are from country affected or young Kenyans or Ethiopians who want to better their life. Perhaps stronger legislation about representing country in European, World and Olympic championships for athletic transfers?
We will wait and see how this is discussed.
Turkey dominated senior races, biggest drama in men U23
CHIA (ITA, Dec 11): More than 440 runners from 33 countries competed on sunny and nearly summer day in Sardinia. Turkey and Great Britain topped the countries rankings. Interesting historical medals for Norway, Poland and Denmark. In total 10 countries won medals. The 24th SPAR European Cross Country Championships will be held in Samorin, first time in Slovakia on December 10, 2017. In 2018 the event will be in Tilburg, Netherlands.
EVENT BY EVENT
Senior women – On the day of her 20th birthday, Turkey’s Yasemin Can won her third European title of the season in the senior women’s race in 24:46 ahead of her teammate Meryam Akda (24:56) with Norway’s Karoline Grovdal taking bronze as last year(25:26). It was first individual gold ever for Turkey in men race.Team title for Turkey ahead of Great Britain and Romania led by fourth-placer Ancuta Bobocel.
Senior men – Kenyan-born Turks also took a one-two through Aras Kaya (27:39) and Polat Arikan Kemboi (27:42) with Callum Hawkins leading the Brits to the team title in third in 27:49 ahead of Andrew Butchart (28:01) and Andy Vernon (28:11). Spain and Turkey took silver and bronze in the team race.
Under-23 women – Sofia Ennaoui became the first ever Polish woman to win a gold medal at the European XC Championships in 19:21 ahead of Germany’s Anna Gehring (19:24) and Brit Alice Wright (19:42). Team medals: Great Britain, Germany, Italy.
Under-23 men – Isaac Kimeli sprinted clear of a group of five to claim gold for Belgium in 22:48 ahead of last year’s runner-up Carlos Mayo (22:53) with two-time junior champion Yemaneberhan Crippa taking bronze on home soil in 22:54 and leading Italy to team gold. Belgium and Great Britain with silver and bronze.
Junior women – Reigning champion Konstanze Klosterhalfen easily defended her title in 12:26 ahead of Denmark’s Anna Emilie Moller (12:43) and last year’s silver medallist Harriet Knowles-Jones (12:52). Team medals for Great Britain, Germany and the Netherlands.
Junior men – The youngest entrant in the race, Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen won the title in 17:06 (first Norwegian U20 gold) ahead of Italy’s Yohanes Chiappinelli (17:14) and Great Britain’s Mahamed Mahamed (17:16). Team medals for France, Spain and Great Britain.