Italy and France confirm teams for SPAR European Cross Country Championships

Jimmy Gressier
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Jimmy Gressier clinched back-to-back individual and team titles in the U23 race at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Tilburg

Italy’s Yemaneberhan Crippa will be challenging for his fifth individual medal at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Lisbon on 8 December.

Crippa has already won back-to-back U20 titles at the championships as well as two individual bronze medals in the U23 category. The 23-year-old had a tough baptism on his senior debut in Tilburg last year when he finished sixth at the Beekse Bergen Safari Park - a position he will be looking to surpass this year.

Crippa finished the track campaign with the fastest time in Europe over 10,000m, setting a national record of 27:10.76 to finish eighth at the IAAF World Athletics Championships to move to third on the European all-time list behind Mo Farah (26:46.57) and Mohammed Mourhit (26:52.30).

Crippa, who will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Andrea Lalli who won the senior men's title for Italy in 2012, is part of a 35-strong team for the European Cross Country Championships which also includes his older brother Nekagenet who finished 20th in Tilburg last year.

The Italian contingent will have high hopes in the women’s U20 race in which Nadia Battocletti will be looking to conclude her junior career by successfully defending her individual title. The Italians should perform well in the team race as their team also features Angela Mattevi who won the U20 title at the World Mountain Running Championships last month.

The full Italian team can be found here.

Gressier aiming for a hat-trick of U23 team and individual titles

France’s Jimmy Gressier is targeting a hat-trick of individual gold medals in the U23 race at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Lisbon on 8 December.

Only 22, Gressier is already one of the most successful athletes in championship history with six gold medals to his credit. As well as winning the last two individual U23 titles, Gressier led France to the team title on both occasions and he was also part of France’s gold medal-winning team in the U20 race in 2015 and 2016. Gressier further embellished his medal tally at the Gavle 2019 European Athletics U23 Championships, winning gold medals in both the 5000m and 10,000m.

The French team had four athletes placing inside the top-10 in Tilburg last year and all four athletes have been named in France’s U23 team for Lisbon. Gressier will be backed up by Hugo Hay, who has also won individual medals at the last two editions of the championships, as well as Fabien Palcau and Louis Gilavert, sixth and ninth respectively last year.

Former European cross country champion Sophie Duarte, 38, has been named on the senior women’s team and France will also be fielding a team in the mixed relay.

The French team can be found here.