Historic run

Jessica Augusto’s individual triumph at the Spar European Cross Country Championships paved the way for a historic Portuguese women’s team gold hat-trick in Albufeira last Sunday.

“It was fantastic,” the 2008 junior champion enthused, “I finished alone but winning was not as easy as all that. I want to dedicate this victory to my mother who surprised me by being here today.”

Jessica Augusto was followed home by team mates Dulce Felix, Marisa Barros and Sara Moreira in third, fifth and ninth respectively to add collective gold for an unprecedented third time in a row. Britain held on to second place from Spain despite a disappointing 28th place finish from 2009 winner Hailey Yelling.

A much closer contested men’s competition saw Ukrainian Sergy Lebid narrowly take gold ahead of Spain’s Ayad Lamdassem and Portugal’s El Kalai. Team-wise, France only just edged out Portugal with Spain taking third.

Away from the course, European Athletics Association President Hans-Joerg Wirz revealed that the 2011 Velenje edition in Slovenia will be the last before the competition becomes a bi-annual event.