Bahta secures double at the Swedish Cross Country Championships

Meraf Bahta
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Meraf Bahta claimed the 4km and 8km titles at the Swedish Cross Country Championships in Huddinge

The early indications are that Meraf Bahta is on course to challenge for major honours at both the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Samorin, Slovakia on 10 December and at the European Athletics Championships in Berlin next August.

One week after setting a Swedish 10km record of 31:44, Bahta claimed a brace of titles at the Swedish Cross Country Championships in Huddinge. Bahta started her weekend with a victory in the 4km in 14:06 before winning the 8km the following day in 29:47.

Bahta’s last appearance at the European Cross Country Championships came back in 2014 when she claimed an individual bronze medal - the same season in which she upset Sifan Hassan to win the 5000m title at the European Championships in Zurich.

Napoleon Solomon has competed in the U23 race at the last three editions of the European Cross Country Championships and the 23-year-old will step up to the senior ranks with a brace of domestic titles to his name.

Solomon, who posted a sixth-place finish in the U23 race last year, won the 4km in 12:20 and the 12km in 39:11. He demonstrated his versatility last month by becoming just the third Swedish athlete to win the famous Lidingoloppet - a 30km cross country which has been an ever-present on the calendar since 1965.

Places sealed on the Slovakian team for Samorin

In the first domestic qualifying race ahead of Samorin, Jozef Urban secured his place on the Slovakian team with victory in Cabaj-Capor on Sunday, covering the 9.6km course in 32:40 to ensure his fourth appearance at the European Cross Country Championships.

In the women’s race, Lubomira Manikova won the women’s 7.2km in 28:57 to book her place on the team for the annual continental event which first took place in 1994.

Elsewhere, Olivera Jevtic, 40, won the 6km at the Serbian Cross Country Championships in Bor on Saturday in 20:32 while Nemanja Cerovac won the 8km in 25:14

Two-time European cross country medallist Mitko Tsenov took the spoils at the Bulgarian Cross Country Championships in Pirdop on Saturday, winning the 10km title in 31:56 with Marinela Nineva winning the 8km in 30:48.