Portuguese clubs won three of the eight titles on offer on home soil as Albufeira staged the 2019 European Champion Clubs Cup Cross Country on Sunday (3).
Edward Zakayo won the U20 men’s race for Sport Lisboa e Benfica before his Kenyan teammate Fancy Cherono won the individual plaudits in the senior women’s race, leading Sporting Clube de Portugal to a successful defence of their team title.
Bathed in glorious sunshine and with the temperatures benign, the conditions were near perfect for the 64 clubs which took part across the four races.
Turkish clubs also fared especially well in the U20 races, keeping up their brilliant tradition in U20 and senior European Champion Clubs Cup events. Darica Belediyesi won the U20 men’s title while last year’s runner-up Emine Akbingol went one better despite losing her shoe, leading Fenerbahce Sport Club to the U20 team title on the women’s side.
This is how the action unfolded on the Algarve on Sunday morning.
Maja Alm just missed out on an individual medal in the senior women's race but a fourth-place finish individually represented another forward step as she makes the switch from orienteering, a discipline in which she is a seven-time world champion, to athletics. After the race, Alm talks about why she made the switch and what she hopes to achieve in athletics.
Most of the competitors didn't have too far to travel to reach Albufeira but one athlete who had quite the journey to south Portugal was France's Emilie Renaud who trains and studies in California. The arduous journey to get to Albufeira was worth it, finishing second in the U20 race and second in the team race for Clermont Athletisme Auvergne.
Also travelling from beyond Europe to reach Albufeira was Kenya's reigning world U20 5000m champion Edward Pingua Zakayo who signed for Sport Lisboa e Benfica last year. Zakayo proved his prowess extends to the cross country, winning the individal U20 title with a gun-to-tape performance.