Champions past and present to compete in Tilburg

Schlumpf stakes her Chia claim
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Reigning champion Fabienne Schlumpf from Switzerland will face Sweden's Meraf Bahta in Tilburg on Sunday

With the SPAR European Cross Country Championships approaching, home athletes - as well as athletes from across the continent - will be looking to impress their country’s selectors on Sunday (26) at the Warandecross in Tilburg, a European Athletics Cross Country Permit Meeting.

For athletes from Sweden, Switzerland and Germany, the Warandecross is one of the selection races for Samorin on 10 December. But for athletes such as reigning champion Fabienne Schlumpf from Switzerland whose place on her national team is already assured, this race will serve as a test run for next year’s European Cross Country Championships which will be held on the same course.

“I will try to run for another podium, but I also hope that the race will bring me some experience for the 2018 European Cross Country Championships in Tilburg,” said Schlumpf. “This is one of my big goals for 2018.”

Schlumpf will go head-to-head with Sweden’s Meraf Bahta, who has also been pre-selected for the European Cross Country Championships next month. Bahta recently set a Swedish 10km record of 31:44 and claimed a 4km/8km double at her domestic cross country championships last month.

Germany’s Richard Ringer claimed a good win in Salzburg last weekend and the European 5000m bronze medallist is aiming to regain his title in Tilburg. He claimed victory in Tilburg albeit on a different course two years ago and will be looking to make amends for last year when he could only finish 18th.

“I don't know what to expect due to the new course, so I'm very excited to run there. My goal for Sunday is to finish on the podium and I will seriously try to win this race,” he said.

With reigning champion Sondre Nordstad Moen from Norway choosing not to defend his title, last year’s runner-up Abdi Hakin Ulad from Denmark and third-placer Napoleon Solomon from Sweden will both be looking to capitalise on his absence.

Meanwhile, Dutch hopes lie with former winners Michel Butter and Khalid Choukoud.