Czech Republic poised to make mixed relay history in Samorin

Eleven nations to contest inaugural mixed relay in Samorin
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Former European indoor 1500m champion Jakob Holusa is part of a strong Czech team for the mixed relay at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Samorin

History will be made when the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Samorin stages the inaugural mixed relay on Sunday and the Czech Republic could also create history by winning their first medal in championship history.

Eleven teams made up of two men and two women will compete in an event which will bring the day to an exciting climax. The women will lead their teams off on the first lap followed by alternate sexes over the next three laps of 1500m with a slightly longer lap of 1710m for the lead-off runners.

One man seeking more glory on the European stage is Jakub Holusa, who is part of a very strong Czech team on paper. Anyone who was there will never forget how he created arguably the greatest moment of the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Prague two years ago when he won 1500m gold in a national record of 3:37.68 with a terrific sprint finish in the 02 Arena.

The Czech squad also includes 21-year-old Filip Sasinek, who will be looking to cap off his breakthrough season with his third medal of the year. After winning bronze in the 1500m at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade and silver at the European Athletics U23 Championships in Bydgoszcz, will he complete the set with gold in Samorin?

Sasinek now has the chance to turn the tide on the man who beat him to gold that day in Bydgoszcz as Marius Probst is part of a strong German team which includes the experienced Diana Sujew, who won a silver medal in the 1500m at the 2012 European Championships.

 

Sarah McDonald, who was sixth in the 1500m at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade in March, will be key in the British line-up although their team has been weakened by the late withdrawal of Charlie Grice.

With Meraf Bahta and Napoleon Solomon among the medal favourites in the senior races, it could be a memorable championships for Sweden who are sending a good team for the mixed relay. The standout names on paper are Andreas Almgren and Hanna Hermansson, who reached the semifinals of the 800m at the IAAF World Championships in London.

Tactics will be all important in an event which sees the first runner go through the start section (210m) before embarking on a long lap of 1500m with another 70m to the changeover. The second and third runners will contest the long lap of 1500m before the anchor leg runners cover a modified last lap (1430m) with 70m until the finish.  

The eleven participating nations are: Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, Slovakia, Sweden, Turkey and Ukraine.