Dip Fin­ish


Athletics Weekly - - TO­GETHER WE RUN -

WITH cross-coun­try fight­ing to re­turn to the Olympic pro­gramme, the sport en­joyed the spot­light last week in Paris when the ISF World Schools Cham­pi­onships took place in the shadow of the Eif­fel Tower.

Four races un­folded under the fa­mous build­ing on the banks of the River Seine in the Champs de Mars – a large ex­panse of grass which is set to be used as the beach vol­ley­ball venue when the French cap­i­tal holds the Olympics in 2024.

Aus­tralians Ella Heeney and Abbey Rock­liff won the two girls’ races while Ist­van Palkovits of Hun­gary and Cher­rad Ous­sama won the boys’ races, while the top­placed English ath­letes were Francesca Brint in third and Matt Willis in fifth as they led their squad to sil­ver medals.

In ad­di­tion to Paris stag­ing the Olympic Games in six years’ time, the races in the city last week also took place a few months be­fore cross coun­try will be staged in the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires.

De­spite be­ing a spec­tac­u­lar set­ting, the course it­self, though, was not a fan­tas­tic ad­ver­tise­ment for cross­coun­try. Much of the rac­ing was done on flat and twisty dirt paths in the park with the only ‘ob­sta­cles’ be­ing a few pud­dles and some small ar­ti­fi­cial mounds.

In 12 months’ time, how­ever, cross coun­try is likely to show­case it­self in greater style when the IAAF World Cross Coun­try Cham­pi­onships is staged in Aarhus.

The pic­turesque Dan­ish city has cre­ated a course that in­volves ath­letes run­ning over the grassy roof of a Vik­ing mu­seum, with a ‘mud pit’, ‘sand pit’ and ‘cheer­ing tent’ among the fea­tures on the course as thou­sands of club run­ners and school chil­dren will rub shoul­ders with elite com­peti­tors.

Ath­letes raced in the shadow of the Eif­fel Tower last week

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