A year ago in Tilburg, Denmark’s Anna Emilie Moller showed power and tenacity to win gold in the U23 race at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships which set in motion a brilliant run of success over the last twelve months.
The Danish star seems poised for a repeat performance in Lisbon in less than a month’s time on 8 December. The 22-year-old produced another brilliant display to win the senior 7.5km title at the Nordic Cross Country Championships in Vierumaki, Finland on Sunday (10).
Moller successfully defended her title in 25:21 as she defeated Sweden’s Sara Christiansson who was second in 25:26 with Norway’s Maria Wagan third in 25:34.
After Moller’s title run in Tilburg last December, she came away with double gold at the European U23 Championships in Gavle, winning both the 3000m steeplechase and 5000m titles on back-to-back evenings before finishing seventh at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha in a European U23 record of 9:13.46.
As Moller won the women’s race, David Nilsson triumphed for Sweden in the senior men’s 9km over 27:07 with victory by two seconds from Iceland’s Hlynur Andersson with fellow Swede Adhanom Abraha third in 27:10.
And there was a double success for Norway in the U20 races, as Hakon Stavik won the men’s 6km race in 18:15 and Ingeborg Ostgard won the women’s 4.5km race in 15:32.
At the Balkan Cross Country Championships in Berane, Montenegro on Saturday (9), Israel’s Yitayew Abuhay was the first man home in the senior 10km as he triumphed in 30:25 from Bulgaria’s Yolo Nikolov (30:26) as he led his Bulgarian team to victory.
The Ukrainian women dominated the senior 8km race with Nataliya Lehonkova first in 27:34 from Mariya Khodakivskaya in 27:38 and the team title with it. Serbia’s Olivera Jevtic, a multiple medallist at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships, was third in 27:48.
In the U23 races, Serbia’s Elzan Bibic won the men’s event over 8km in 23:57 and Turkey’s Bahar Atalay took the women’s 6km in 21:02 with Ukraine lifting the team crowns in both races.
In the U20 events, there was more success for Israel with Adisu Guadia victorious in the men’s 6km in 19:13 while Turkey’s Sila Ergun won the women’s 4km in 14:11.
Oumaiz surprises on home soil with senior victory in Atapuerca
Like Moller, Spain’s Ouassim Oumaiz also left Tilburg with a medal last December – and on home terrain on Saturday he proved age means nothing.
Oumaiz was the silver medallist in the U20 race behind Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen last year and now 20 - and in his first season in the senior ranks - he was the senior star in Atapuerca on Saturday, achieving a superb victory at the Cross Internacional de Atapuerca.
Oumaiz surprised the field to win the 9km race in 25:54 ahead of Ugandans Thomas Ayeko and Timothy Toroitich - both of whom were timed at 25:56. As he aims for Lisbon, Oumaiz will now be among the favourites for the U23 title after a display such as this one.
In the women’s 8km event, Great Britain’s Charlotte Arter was the leading European finisher in seventh with 26:29 with reigning European U20 champion Nadia Battocletti from Italy 14th in 27:30. Ethiopia’s Senbere Teferi won for the fourth successive year in 25:38.
Eleven months ago Belgium’s Isaac Kimeli won silver in the senior race and he showed in Mol on Sunday that his preparations are going well for another big tilt at the title.
At the second leg of the Structabo CrossCup, Kimeli won over 9.2km in 29:26 from Germany’s Samuel Fitwi (29:28) and Belgium’s Michael Somers (29:40). Jasmijn Bakker from the Netherlands won the senior women’s 6.2km in 22:35 Hanne Verbruggen in 22:49.
Domestic wins for Avery and Butchart
Kate Avery has a brilliant record at the European Cross Country Championships and she showed in Milton Keynes on Saturday that she is great form once again, winning the senior 5.6km title at the British Athletics Cross Challenge in 20:11. Mahamed Mahamed won the men’s 9.05km in 29:37.
In Kirkcaldy, Andrew Butchart won the men’s 4km at the Scottish Short Course Cross Country Championships in 11:54 with Annabel Simpson landing the women’s title in 13:57.
— Bobby Gavin (@Bobby_ThatOneMo) November 10, 2019
A familiar name was triumphant at the Carsolina Cross in Sgonico as Nekagenet Crippa – brother of Yemaneberhan – won the senior men’s 9 km in 27:47 over Said El Otmani (27:51) and Ahmed El Mazoury (27:55).
In the senior women’s 7km, European U20 5000m champion Klara Lukan from Slovenia won in 25:14 ahead of Italians Valeria Roffino (25:34) and Martina Merlo (25:51).
And in Regensdorf, the Swiss cross country season opened with with Jonas Raess and Chiara Scherrer putting down good markers ahead of Lisbon. Raess won the men’s senior 8.8km in 25:14 and Scherrer took the women’s senior 6.08km in 21:50
European U20 1500m champion Delia Sclabas, who also won silver behind Battocletti in the U20 race in Tilburg last December, won the U20 4.08km in 13:54 by more than 30 seconds.