All smiles - Leonor Carneiro defends her Amora cross title (Marcelino Almeida) © Copyright

Cross Country Action resumes in Portugal - Amora Preview

Lisbon, PortugalThe well known Cross of Amora, a village in the Seixal county, in the south margin of the Tagus River, near Lisbon, is the opening event of the Cross Country season in Portugal.

Being the first cross country race of the season, a month before the European Cross Country Championships, this event, one of the EAA permit meetings, will show the shape of some of the best Portuguese runners, only one week after some of them took part in the European Champion Clubs Cup of road events.

In the men's event, the local organizing committee announced the participation of Paulo Guerra, former four times European champion, and bronze medallist at the World Cross Country Championships in Belfast in 1999.

Last year he was fifth in this event (he was second in 2005), and he will share the field with Carlos Silva, 6th in Amora in 2006, Luís Pinto, the 2007 national champion at 1500 metres, and Mário Teixeira, 4th in the 2007 national Cross Country (short race) and second placed in the 3000m Steeplechase at the Iberoamerican Championships in 2004.

From abroad, the presence of well known (in Portugal) Kenyan Philemon Kemei, winner of the Lisbon marathon in 2004 and 2005 has been confirmed. Other competitors will be: Silas Kipruto (KEN), credited with 13:13.95 5000m; Adam Ismail Khamis, from Bahrain, 6th in the 2007 Asian Cross Country Championship and national record holder for 10,000m with 28:02.08; and Emilio Martin, from Spain.

Leonor Carneiro heads women’s field

In the women’s field, the big name is the Leonor Carneiro, last year's winner, and 8th place finisher at the Berlin Marathon, with 2:31:41. She was also 11th in last year’s European Cross Country Championships.

She will face countrywomen Inês Monteiro, former European junior cross country champion and 3rd in the Ovar Half Marathon; Sandra Teixeira, national champion at 1500m, 2nd in this year's Algés-Oeiras 10km road race (36:57), and 8th placed in Amora last year.

Another Portuguese, Adélia Elias, 30th placed at the 2003 World Cross Country Championships, and Kenyan runner Paskayla Chepkorir (16:53.5 at 5000m) are the other front runners expected to do well in Amora.

António Manuel Fernandes for the IAAF