No country has a better record at the European 10,000m Cup than Portugal and the strength of their women’s team for Minsk shows they are determined to achieve more glory on 10 June.
Sara Moreira and Ines Monteiro both return to an event where they have twice been individual champions for a nation which has won the women’s team title on 10 occasions and the men’s team competition on four, along with a single individual triumph.
Moreira is joined by her Sporting Club de Portugal teammate Jessica Augusto in a women’s squad which includes Daniela Cunha, Susana Godinho and Carla Salome Rocha with Bruno Albuquerque as their sole male runner.
Augusto and Rocha have already this year banked the qualifying time for the marathon at the IAAF World Championships in London in August and the 10,000m standard of 32:15 will be their next target in Minsk.
For Moreira and Augusto, it will be the chance to chase the podium again less than a year since they made history at the European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam. Moreira won the inaugural half marathon title in 70:19 with Augusto in third 70:55, leading the country to the team title as well.
It was back in 1998 - fittingly staged in Lisbon - where Fernando Ribeiro was Portugal’s first individual winner, a crown she would lift again in Athens five years later. Monteiro won the title in 2009 and 2010 and then Moreira followed that lead with back-to-back victories in 2011 and 2012.
Portugal won the first of their 10 women's team titles in the first competition in 1997 in Barakaldo with their last being in Skopje in 2014. Augusto (31:55.56) was second and Moreira third (32:01.42) behind French champion Clemence Calvin (31:52.86).
Augusto will return to the track less than two months after claiming her maiden marathon win in Hamburg in 2:25:30 while Rocha made a promising debut at the distance earlier this month, finishing seventh in Prague in 2:27:08.