General News Edinburgh, Scotland

Lebid to lead European select squad at Edinburgh XC

Sergiy Lebid  (UKR) wins the 2008 European XC men's race (Mark Shearman)Sergiy Lebid (UKR) wins the 2008 European XC men's race (Mark Shearman) © Copyright
Evergreen Sergey Lebid will captain the Europe Select Team in the Men's International Team Challenge at the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country on 8 January, the fourth meeting of the IAAF Cross Country Permit series 2010/11.

Lebid who has dominated the European Cross Country Championships and has competed in each edition of the continental championships since they were first staged at Alnwick, England in 1994, chalked up a ninth success in Albufeira, Portugal, on Sunday.

The 35-year-old Ukrainian immediately accepted an invitation not only to compete at the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country but also skipper the European side in Holyrood Park.

Lebid will lead a nine strong area squad in the inaugural staging of the International Team Challenge which will feature a clash against Great Britain & Northern Ireland senior, under 23 and under 20 sides and what will be a very strong United States team over eight kilometres.

The scenic course in the Scottish capital has in the past been a happy hunting ground for Lebid. The former IAAF World Championships Cross Country runner up won what was then a fourth successive Euro title there in 2004.

Then Lebid returned three years ago to scalp his great rival, Great Britain's current European 5000m and 10000m gold medallist Mo Farah, in a thrilling 4km clash which went to the wire.

"I'm delighted to be appointed as captain of the Europe Select Team," Lebid said after outsprinting Spain's Ayad Lamdassem and Youssef El Kalai, in his latest European Cross Country success.

The silver and bronze medallists have also been invited to compete along with the remaining top nine finishers from Albufeira in the Europe Select Side which will be announced later this week. 

Lebid added: "I'm certain whoever is chosen will see us give the British and American sides a run for their money although I'm sure they will be very strong.
 
"Personally I'm happy to be returning to Edinburgh and a great course where I have good memories of my past races there.

The Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country, which will be broadcast live by BBC Television, will also feature an international men's 4km and women's 6km races.
 
Dave Martin for IAAF