MonteCarloThe team contests in Amman, Jordan at the 37th IAAF World Cross Country Championships will be just as keenly fought as the battle for individual titles in the four races which make up the programme on Saturday 28 March.
While we can assume that in Amman squads from much of east and north Africa and a few Arab nations will once again engage in their annual battle for glory, the team contests at the World Cross Country Championships over recent years have brought plenty of bounty for other nations in competitions which otherwise have been dominated by African born runners.
Benita Johnson (2004), Paula Radcliffe (2001/2002) and Sonia O’Sullivan (1998) have been the most recent athletes individually to upset the domination but overall the team battles - which are decided upon the lowest aggregate of points achieved in each race - have provided much more fruitful territory at the World Cross Country Championships.
In the women’s junior and senior races the Japanese have been especially good at reaping team success with a large number of bronze and the occasional silver medal. During the last decade countries such as Australia, Canada, France, Great Britain and NI, Ireland, Portugal, Romania, Russia and the USA have also been successful in the hunt for minor team medals.
Amman should be no different with young and talented junior squads especially from Australia, Britain and USA, along with the ever consistent Japanese seriously contesting team honours alongside their African born opponents.
Most notably Australia’s junior men’s line-up is led by their 1500m sensation Ryan Gregson, and USA’s junior squad likewise can count on another Miler German Fernandez, now the quickest junior indoors there has ever been.
Asami Kato of Japan who was 15th last year in Edinburgh will lead her country’s junior women’s challenge, and while Britain’s World Junior 1500m champion Stephanie Twell will contest the senior women’s race, it is worth remembering that in her last race as a junior in December’s European XC championships, Twell led home a British sweep of the first six places in the junior race.
14:30hrs – Women’s Junior Race, 6km
15:00hrs – Men’s Junior Race, 8km
15:40hrs – Women’s Senior Race, 8km
16:30hrs – Men’s Senior Race, 12km
NOTE: All times shown are Local. Jordan will switch to summer time on 27 March 2009 that means the difference in GMT will be +3 Hours.
Teams and Reserves
For all four races Teams of no more than eight athletes can be entered. Six athletes will be allowed to start in each race, four of whom will score.
Each race shall be scored separately, and the team with the lowest aggregate of points will be judged the winner of each race.
Junior Athletes - Any athlete aged 18 or 19 years on 31 December of the year of the competition (e.g. for the 2009 Championships, born in 1990 or 1991) may compete in either the Senior race or the Junior race but not both.
Youth Athletes - Any athlete aged 16 or 17 years on 31 December of the year of competition (e.g. for the 2009 Championships, born in 1992 or 1993) may compete only in the Junior race.
No athlete younger than 16 years of age on 31 December 2009 in the year of the competition (e.g. for the 2008 Championships, born in 1994 or later) may be entered.