Emerging Danish distance running talent Sofia Thøgersen took a notable victory in the women’s U20 race at the Nordic Cross Country Championships in Kristiansand on Sunday (6) on the road to the SPAR European Cross Country Championships on 11 December.
Only 17, Thøgersen defeated two fellow European U20 medallists in the U20 6km, winning in a close finish in 24:52 ahead of European U20 1500m champion Ingeborg Ostgard (24:53), who also competed for Norway at the European Athletics Championships, and European U20 3000m bronze medallist and Norwegian teammate Ina Halle Haugen (24:54).
With Ina's twin sister Maren fifth, Norway easily won the team title but the individual honours on a challenging course with varying terrains went to Thøgersen who will go in search of her third European medal this season at next month’s European Cross Country Championships in Piemonte-La Mandria Park near Turin.
Just one week after celebrating her 16th birthday, Thøgersen won European U20 3000m silver in 2021 before adding two more medals to her collection on the same day at the European Athletics U18 Championships in Jerusalem.
After winning bronze in the 2000m steeplechase in brutal heat on the third morning session behind world U18 record-holder Jolanda Kallabis from Germany, Thøgersen showed not only her exceptional talent but also her remarkable powers of recovery by winning the 3000m title on the same day with a last lap of 60 seconds.
As one of the youngest athletes in the race, Thøgersen finished 15th in Fingal-Dublin last year but with an extra year of training under her belt, the 17-year-old looks set to challenge for individual medals in La Mandria Park next month.
Even in the absence of last year’s European U20 cross country silver medallist Abdullahi Dahir Rabi, Norwegian athletes swept the top four places in the men’s U20 6km led by Esten Hansen-Møllerud Hauen in 21:07.
In the senior races, Finland’s Nathalie Blomqvist won the women’s 9km in 36:40 while Mohammadreza Abootorabi led a Swedish one-two in the men’s 9km in 31:33 ahead of Max Bejmer in 31:41. World orienteering champion Kasper Fosser won bronze in 31:50.
Europeans dominate the trail events in Chiang Mai
European athletes won six out of eight titles on offer in the trail events at the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships in Chiang Mai, Thailand on Saturday (5).
France’s Blandine L’Hirondel won the 80km event with an overall elevation of 4910 metres in 8:22:14 by over 10 minutes from Sweden’s former international steeplechaser Ida Nilsson in 8:34:59. L’Hirondel also led France to the team title.
In the 40km races, Norway’s Stian Angermund and Denisa Dragomir from Romania won the individual titles with the team honours going to Italy and France respectively.
Ugandan athletes dominated the third day programme which consisted of the up-and-down mountain races but Jess Bailey led a British one-two in the U20 6.4km ahead of Rebecca Flaherty and also won the team title.