Lebid to defend Dublin title

EUROPEAN cross-country champion Sergey Lebid will defend his title at this year’s championships in Dublin. The Ukrainian will be aiming to win his ninth crown at Santry Demesne, Dublin on December 13.

He revealed last night: “I’m aiming to defend my title in Dublin. Not only that, as many people know and it’s almost as important for me, I’m the only person to have run in all 15 of the previous SPAR European Cross Country championships.

The 34-year-old added: “I want to keep my streak in the championships going. Last year, I remember I said that I would have to have a broken leg not to be at the start. This year it might take something even more serious! I had some problems in June and July, nothing too serious but enough to mean I wasn’t fit enough to think about going to the World Championships.

“I did win my national championships in July over 5000m but it was outside 14 minutes, that just wasn’t good enough. It was a similar story in 2008 regarding the Olympics but things came together in the autumn and winter and I believe they will do so again,” he added.

Lebid is excited about his trip to Dublin and not only because of the possibility of added yet another cross country title to his collection.

“People might also remember that I also failed to finish at the World cross country championships that were held there in 2002, and just 12 months after I’d won a silver medal, as I was feeling unwell. It’s not a good memory for me. To say that I’m going to Dublin with something to prove would be an exaggeration but I definitely would like to show Irish running fans that I can win on their soil.”

Meanwhile, the Munster novice and U23 cross-country championships take place on Sunday at Dungarvan and Cork have a named a strong squad, led by County champions Lizzie Lee and Barry Donovan, who are both members of the Leevale club.

Novice women: L Lee, S O’Connor, R Lee and A Quaid (all Leevale); A Wolfe, A O’Mahony, G O’Shea, C Conway (St Finbarrs); AM Power, C Leahy (Eagle); C Fitzgibbon (Grange-Fermoy); S Gayer (Belgooly).

U23 women: C Finn (Duhallow); T Rhatigan (UCC); S Gayer (Belgooly).

Novice men: B Donovan, C Harrington (Leevale); K Wilmot (Bandon); B Hegarty, T Mahony (East Cork); S Coffey, P Murphy, K Ryan, D Coakley (Togher); J Curran, D Coughlan (St Finbarrs); G Waugh, E O’Donovan (Rising Sun); J O’Driscoll (CIT); D Muldowney (Eagle).

U23 men: B Donovan, D Metcalfe (Leevale); S Coffey, C Harrington, K Hassett (Togher); J O’Driscoll, M O’Regan, J Collins, K Maybury (CIT); J Fitzgerald (East Cork).

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