BEST OF LUCK TO DSD’s SENIOR CROSS COUNTRY TEAM who, following their recent victory at the National Championships, will take on the best clubs in Europe this weekend in Oeiras, Portugal.
The European Champion Clubs Cup Cross Country (ECCC XC) is cross country’s equivalent to the Champion’s League final in football. The ECCC XC was first held in 1962, making it the second oldest regional cross-country event in the world (after the Balkan Cross Country Championships).
Our DSD team in the 10,000 metres Cross Country race will be represented by Hiko Tonosa, Paul O’Donnell, Emmet Jennings & Matt Bergin, who posted one of DSD’s most convincing wins ever in the National Championships before Christmas. Clonliffe Harriers has a team in the same race; local rivalry thrown into the mix always makes it interesting!
DSD has represented Ireland in this event on numerous occasions in the past. However, with such a strong team this year, we will be hoping for some stand-out performances and aiming to mix it with the best of them. DSD has been in the medals in the junior ranks before, but we have never managed to get a team medal in the senior races which are extremely competitive. Given the depth of the competition, this will be a big challenge for DSD’s men with one of the strongest contenders in the race being world half marathon record-holder Jacob Kiplimo from Uganda who will be racing for Italian club Casone Noceto.
A change in format for this year’s event sees four athletes on a team, with the top three finishers to score. Previously teams of six were allowed, from the top club in each country, but the revised format now includes the top two teams from each country making the event more competitive than ever.
It is fantastic to see DSD competing at this international standard. The previous best finish for the men was 6th (1990) although junior men (and women) have got bronze medals.
An interesting bit of history here: our junior women got 1st, 2nd and 3rd individually in 2007 (and with three to score, DSD naturally won the team prize). The medal ceremony was delayed because the organisers didn't have three Irish flags to raise at the same time. Let’s hope the organisers learned their lesson and have three Irish flags ready for the lads in Portugal!