Former European 800m bronze medallist Lucia Hrivnak-Klocova and triathlete Richard Varga have been announced as event ambassadors for the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Samorin, Slovakia on 10 December.
Hrivnak-Klocova announced her retirement from athletics earlier this year having represented Slovakia in the 800m and 1500m at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. Now 33, Hrivnak-Klocova was aiming to make her farewell to competition in the inaugural mixed relay but she is still looking forward to the event albeit in a different capacity.
"It is a great honour for me to be an ambassador of the European Cross Country Championships,” said Hrivnak-Klocova, who also competed at five European Championships as a senior. "I'm a little sorry I will not compete, it would have been a great opportunity to say goodbye to my career but I am waiting for a second baby which is a priority for me now. At least I'm looking forward to the event from an ambassadorial position."
Varga is a four-time world champion in aquathon - and a two-time Olympian in triathlon - and along with his ambassadorial role, the 28-year-old will be lining up in the Slovakian Cross Country Championships on Sunday in a bid to make the national team for next month. “At the Slovakian Championships I will try to get a place on the team but it will be extremely demanding,” said Varga, who will still compete in the mass 6km race at the end of the programme if he doesn’t qualify for the senior men’s team.
The Slovakian Cross Country Championships will be held this weekend at the x-bionic sphere, three weeks ahead of the European Cross Country Championships. The national championships will act as the de facto dress rehearsal for the main event next month and the Local Organising Committee are working assiduously to ensure everything will be ready for 10 December.
"Our preparations for the championships are in full swing. With the championships approaching, we are busy across all areas: ensuring the accreditation of participants, the preparation of the course, accommodation, transport and media services,” said Vladimir Gubricky, the Secretary General of the Slovak Athletics Federation.
This year’s European Cross Country Championships is set to be the best attended in event history. According to preliminary entries, a record 610 athletes from 40 countries are set to take part across the championships.