Team Europe will have five of the six gold medallists from Chia last weekend in their squad as they bid for glory in the first big event of 2017 – the Great Edinburgh XCountry.
Turkish pair Aras Kaya and Yasemin Can, the winners of the senior race at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships, will be joined by under-23 champions, Isaac Kimeli, of Belgium, and Sofia Ennaoui, of Poland, while Norway’s under-20 gold medallist Jakob Ingebrigsten will have another chance to demonstrate his outstanding talent.
This European Athletics Cross Country Permit event on 7 January is always such a brilliant start to the New Year, with such competitive races at the glorious setting of Holyrood Park in the Scottish capital.
And for the senior European men, there could be quite a challenge ahead as Mo Farah has revealed he would like to take part in the event again running for Great Britain.
Farah has spoken of his hopes to be in Edinburgh, running for Team GB, by saying: “Cross country events offer a perfect opportunity for me to measure my fitness and see how my training is going ahead of the 2017 track season.”
The Great Edinburgh XCountry is a match between Team Great Britain & Northern Ireland, Team Europe and the USA with athletes competing in four races: a senior men’s 8km, senior women’s 6km, junior men’s 6km and junior women’s 4km.
Team Europe will be flowing with medallists galore.
Joining Kaya will be Turkish teammate Polat Kemboi Arikan, who he beat to gold on Sunday, and Spain’s Ilias Fifa, who was sixth, and in the women’s senior team, Can is running alongside fellow Turkish runner Meryem Akda, the silver medallist in Chia, and bronze medallist, Norway’s Karoline Bjerkeli Grovdal.
The senior women’s squad also includes Ireland’s double Euro Cross gold medallist Fionnuala McCormack, who was second in this race last year (21:09) behind Britain’s Kate Avery (21:05), and Romania’s Ancuta Bobocel (21:38), who was fourth last January.
The men’s under-23 race will also have the top three from the SPAR European Cross Country Championships, with Kimeli, Spain’s Carlos Mayo and Italy’s Yemaneberhan Crippa, who led his country to team gold in their home event, this time competing for Team Europe.
Ennaoui and Chia silver medallist Anna Gehring will lead the way in the women’s under-23 race, while Ingebrigsten will enter 2017 having established himself as a champion who will be looking for another big win to his name.
Jasminj Lau, of the Netherlands, Delia Sclabas, of Switzerland, and Lucia Rodruguez, of Spain, who were fifth, sixth and seventh respectively in Chia, will be in the mix in the women's junior race.
The full Team Europe squad for Edinburgh is:
Aras Kaya (TUR), Polat Kemboi Arikan (TUR), Ilias Fifa (ESP), Ayad Lamdassem (ESP), Adel Mechaal (ESP), Marouan Razine (ITA), Kaan Kigen Ozbilen (TUR), Antonio Abadia (ESP). Reserves: Abdi Hakin Ulad (DEN), Sondre Nordstad Moen (NOR), Soufiane Bouchikhi (BEL), Marco Najbe Salami (ITA).
Yasemin Can (TUR), Meryem Akda (TUR), Karoline Bjerkeli Grovdal (NOR), Ancuta Bobocel (ROU), Fionnuala McCormack (IRL), Trihas Gebre (ESP), Fabienne Schlumpf (SUI), Liv Westphal (NED). Reserves: Elizeba Cherono (NED), Roxana Barca (ROU), Viktoriya Kalyuzhna (UKR), Carolin Kirtzel (GER).
Isaac Kimeli (BEL), Carlos Mayo (ESP), Yemaneberhan Crippa (ITA), Napoleon Solomon (SWE).
Sofia Ennaoui (POL), Anna Gehring (GER), Katarzyna Rutowska (POL), Caterina Granz (GER).
Jakob Ingebrigsten (NOR), Adrian Ben (ESP), Miguel Gonzalez (ESP), Annasse Mahboub El Hamdouini (ESP), Omer Oti (TUR), Dorin Andrei Rusu (ROU). Reserves: Sergiy Polikarpenko (ITA), Eshetu Worku (ISR).
Jasminj Lau (NED), Delia Sclabas (SUI), Lucia Rodruguez (ESP), Stina Wangberg (NOR), Francesca Tommasi (ITA), Lara Alemanni (SUI). Reserves: Leila Hadji (FRA), Pinar Demirtas (TUR).