Machado to spearhead Portugal’s medal challenge in Lisbon

Hosts Portugal have declared a team of 37 athletes for the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Lisbon on 8 December.

Portugal is the fourth most successful nation in championship history behind Great Britain, France and Spain. They have won 20 gold medals – and 55 in total – since the first edition of the championships in Alnwick in 1994.

Three of those gold medals were achieved on home soil. The senior men won the team title in Oeiras in 1997 while Jessica Augusto won individual gold thirteen years later in Albufeira, leading Portugal to the team title as well.

One of their brightest title prospects is Mariana Machado in the U20 women’s race. Machado didn’t feature in the top-10 in her two prior appearance at the championships but the 19-year-old took a notable win over 8km in Soria earlier this month, outsprinting Bahrain’s world marathon silver medallist Rose Chelimo.

If Machado prevails in Lisbon, she will become the first Portuguese winner of the U20 race since Augusto won in Malmo, Sweden in 2000.

Portuguese won the senior women’s team title on eight occasions between 1998 and 2010 and they have selected a team full with experience including Ana Dulce Felix, who won four individual medals between 2010 and 2013, and Carla Salome Rocha, the fifth fastest marathon runner in Europe this year with a 2:24:47 PB.

The full Portuguese team can be found here.

Individual Portuguese gold medals at the European Cross Country Championships

1994 – Paulo Guerra (senior men)
1995 – Paulo Guerra (senior men)
1999 – Ines Monteiro (U20 women)
1999 – Paulo Guerra (senior men)
2000 – Jessica Augusto (U20 women)
2000 – Paulo Guerra (senior men)
2010 – Jessica Augusto (senior women)

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