Abbotstown to host delayed European Cross-Country championships

Turin event rearranged to 2022 to facilitate event on December 12th

Somewhat forgotten but certainly not gone, Dublin will host the European Cross-Country Championships on December 12th, one year later than originally scheduled given the 2020 event was cancelled in the face of Covid-19.

Despite a later agreement to also push out Turin’s hosting of the event, given they were first awarded 2021, there’s been some lingering doubts about Dublin, not helped by some silence on the matter. However, Athletics Ireland has announced a relaunch event on Thursday featuring a couple of athletes likely to feature across the six races on the day.

The last event, staged in Lisbon in 2019, featured 602 athletes – 336 men and 266 women – from 40 countries, with similar numbers expected this December given the lifting of most travel restrictions around Europe in recent weeks.

The venue, at the Sport Ireland campus at Abbotstown, remains the same as does most organisational matters, including the broadcasting rights. Fingal-Dublin had been successful in the bid three years ago, the second time Dublin will play host after the 2009 Championships were staged at Santry Demense.

It was July 2020 when the Fingal-Dublin 2020 local organising committee informed the European Athletics executive board that “due to too many uncertainties and existing sanitary restrictions in Ireland associated to the Covid-19 situation” they had no choice but to cancel the edition 2020 of the European Cross-Country Championships.

The attention will now turn to those Irish athletes chasing likely selection. Tokyo Olympians Sarah Healy and Andrew Coscoran – who both competed over 1,500 metres in Tokyo – will attend the relaunch event, an early sign of encouragement perhaps given Irish medal hopes will certainly be talked about.

Those 2019 championships in Lisbon proved the most fruitful for Irish teams in the event, the striking thing about the four-medal haul was that it might easily have been six.

The day began with a journey completed in style, Efrem Gidey winning a junior bronze medal in his debut in an Irish vest, with Fionnuala McCormack coming home a close fourth in the women's race, before soon finding some consolation in leading the team to silver medals, with Aoibhe Richardson (17th) and Ciara Mageean (20th) giving their best to secure it.

In between Stephanie Cotter also finished third in the women's under-23 race, also leading the Irish team to silver medals in the process. There would have been strong hopes for a similar medal haul in Dublin first time round and similarly second time round. Turin's La Mandria Park in Italy will now host the event in December 2022.

Meanwhile, Irish sprinter Rhasidat Adeleke has found herself in esteemed Olympic medal winning company when named among the three finalists for the rising star award ahead of the European Athletics Golden Tracks ceremony in Lausanne on October 16th.

The 10 nominees were reduced to three after a vote among the athletics and social media, and Adeleke, who only turned 19 in August, is joined by Femke Bol of the Netherlands, the 21-year-old who won Olympic bronze in the 400m hurdles, and Britain's Keely Hodgkinson, also 19, who won Olympic 800m silver in Tokyo. Adeleke won a European under-20 sprint double in July, only to find herself controversially left off the Irish mixed relay team for Tokyo.

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