This Sunday, the Netherlands play host to to the 25th European Cross Country Championships. These are our previews and predictions for the seven races taking place.
Despite only being 17, Sarah Healy (Ireland) will undoubtedly be one of the favourites for a medal after breaking championship records over 1500m and 3000m at the European U18 Championships earlier this year. Delia Sclabas (Switzerland) will be hoping to turn her World U20 bronze medals on the track into European golds over cross country. Having already won a race on this course last month, Sclabas’ confidence will be high going into Sunday. Home favourite, Jasmijn Lau (Netherlands) will be looking for success – a superior experience over longer distances may work in her favour. Great Britain’s duo of Cari Hughes and Khahisa Mhlanga will also hope to be in the mix and be looking to retain their team title from last year. Lisa Oed (Germany) comes into the race as European U20 steeplechase champion, so will be looking to add to her medal tally this weekend.
1 – Sarah Healy (Ireland)
2 – Delia Sclabas (Switzerland)
3 – Jasmijn Lau (Netherlands)
TEAM: Great Britain
Defending champion and reigning European senior 5000m and 1500m champion, Jakob Ingebritsen (Norway) will be the outstanding favourite once again in the under 20 race. Having won this race for the last two years, the 18-year-old could potentially go for four in a row, before stepping up to under 23s in 2020. Expect the biggest challenge to come from European U20 1500m champion, Jake Heyward (Great Britain) or Elzan Bibic (Serbia), who has a 5000m PB of 13:44. Spain and Great Britain both come into this with strong teams and it could be a close affair as both will look to get three men inside the top ten.
1 – Jakob Ingebritsen (Norway)
2 – Elzan Bibic (Serbia)
3 – Jake Heyward (Great Britain)
TEAM: Great Britain
Anna Emilie Moller (Denmark) looks to be a strong contender for gold in the Women’s U23 race, having taken the European U23 3000m Steeplechase title as well as picking up a big win in the Nordic Cross Country Championships most recently. Her competition will come in the form of last years fifth placer, Amy Griffiths (Great Britain) and the two Germans Miriam Dattke and Anna Gehring, both of whom have experience picking up medals on the European circuit. The German team will be difficult to beat if these two manage to finish high up in the standings.
1 – Anna Emilie Moller (Denmark)
2 – Miriam Dattke (Germany)
3 – Anna Gehring (Germany)
Jimmy Gressier (France) is aiming to become the first male U23 to retain his title at these championships. A string of very impressive performances on the track this summer suggest he is in good shape to do so. The biggest challenge may come from Simon Debognies (Belgium), who ran 28:25 for 10,000m earlier this year and will use that endurance to his advantage on Sunday. Other contenders include Samuel Fitwi (Germany), Mike Foppen (Netherlands) who ran a 7:54 3000m this year or US-based Ryan Forsyth (Ireland) with a 13:41 5000m PB. This looks to be one of the most open races of the weekend and could see a couple of surprises sneaking a medal.
With two 28:xx 10,000m runners in their team for this 8.3km course, Belgium will be difficult to beat, but will face a challenge from the British and the French.
1 – Jimmy Gressier (France)
2 – Simon Debognies (Belgium)
3 – Ryan Forsyth (Ireland)
Reigning champion Yasemin Can (Turkey) will be the favourite, having won the race over the last two years. The race for the other medals is wide open. Trihas Gebre (Spain), who broke 70 minutes for the half marathon this year will hope to use that strength over the cross country course. European 10,000m Cup silver medalist Ancuta Bobocel (Romania) and European Championship 10,000m silver medalist Susan Krumins (Netherlands) will be hoping to upgrade on their second placed finishes earlier in the year. She will be challenged by a strong pack of Brits likely to be lead by Charlotte After, although 1500m specialists Melissa Courtney (Great Britain) and Ciara Mageean (Ireland) could spring a surprise.
The team competition could be another close affair. The Dutch contingent will bring three sub 15:20 5k runners this year and may be hard to beat. But they will be pushed by Great Britain, Germany and a very strong Portugal team which includes two 2:25 marathoners.
1 – Yasemin Can (Turkey)
2 – Trihas Gebre (Spain)
3 – Susan Krumins (Netherlands)
Kaan Kigen Ozbilen (Turkey) is the outright favourite to retain his title again this year. The biggest challenges are likely to come in the form of one of his Turkish teammates (Kaya and Arikan) or last year’s runner up Adel Mechaal (Spain). Track specialists Filip and Henrik Ingebritsen (Norway) will be looking to repeat their younger brother’s successes, whilst Yemaneberhan Crippa (Italy) will be hoping for a medal after electing to run with the seniors despite being eligible for the U23s after winning bronze there last year. Also look out for Antonio Abadia (Spain), Isaac Kimeli (Belgium) and a bunch of Brits aiming to slot into the top 10. Expect to see a very close team competition contested between Spain, Turkey and Great Britain.
1 – Kaan Kigen Ozbilen (Turkey)
2 – Yemaneberhan Crippa (Italy)
3 – Adel Mechaal (Spain)
On paper this looks to be a close battle between France and Belgium. Belgium with more 1500m specialists including 3:33 1500m man Ismael Debjani in the team could have the edge, although with France potentially bringing in the star power of Lamote (800m) and Mekhissi-Benabbad (3000m Steeplechase), they could snatch victory. The bronze medal looks likely to come from one of Great Britain, Spain and Sweden.
1 – France
2 – Belgium
3 – Sweden