Previews24 Feb 2023

Amebaw and Schrub seek strong season end in Albufeira


Likina Amebaw wins at the Almond Blossom Cross Country in Albufeira (© Organisers)

Ethiopia’s Likina Amebaw, Sweden’s Sarah Lahti and Yann Schrub of France will be among the athletes targeting a strong final performance as the World Athletics Cross Country Tour Gold season comes to a close at the Almond Blossom Cross Country in Albufeira on Sunday (26).

After 15 events in the top tier of the Cross Country Tour, just one opportunity remains for runners to make their mark on the overall 2022-23 standings.

In the women’s 6.37km race, Amebaw returns looking to regain the title she claimed in 2021.

The 25-year-old, who has a top result in the tour so far this season of fourth at the Cinque Mulini in San Vittore Olona, won by nine seconds ahead of Spain’s Maria Azucena Diaz in Albufeira two years ago.

Last year Amebaw had to settle for second place, finishing just one second behind Eritrea’s Rahel Daniel, who co-leads this season’s tour standings with Lucy Mawia. Neither Daniel or Mawia race in Albufeira.

The race does feature Lahti, however, and the 28-year-old will be looking to go one better than the runner-up spot she claimed at a snow-covered CrossCup de Hannut last month.

There, Lahti finished four seconds behind Daniel, while the Swedish athlete won at the World Cross Country Tour Silver meeting in Mol in November.

The list of international entrants also includes Germany’s Elena Burkard, Morocco’s Majida Maayouf and Silke Jonkman of the Netherlands.

Of the many Portuguese entrants, the best hopes rest with Lia Lemos, who finished 14th at the Cross Country Tour Gold meeting in Elgoibar in January and then placed 18th at the European Champion Clubs Cup Cross Country in Oropesa del Mar earlier this month.

Schrub heads into the men’s 8.45km race unbeaten so far this year. The 26-year-old joined Lahti in racing in Hannut last month and took the first World Cross Country Tour Gold triumph of his career.

He then repeated the feat, winning in Calzadilla two weeks later. The European 10,000m bronze medallist switched his attention back to the track the following weekend, winning the 3000m at the World Athletics Indoor Tour Silver meeting in Metz in a PB of 7:40.54.

Finishing three places behind Schrub in last year’s European 10,000m final in Munich was Ireland’s Efrem Gidey and the two clash again in Albufeira.

Following that race in Munich, 22-year-old Gidey finished fifth in the U23 race at the European Cross Country Championships and ninth over 10km at the Corrida Internationale de Houilles before starting 2023 with a 10km PB of 27:57 in Valencia.

His most recent result is a seventh-place finish at the European Champion Clubs Cup Cross Country.

Noah Schutte of the Netherlands continues his season after racing in Hannut and Calzadilla, while Morocco’s Younes Kniya is also among the entries.

Current standings