The Brussels 2023 SPAR European Cross Country Championships, scheduled for December 10, have announced their final entries, showcasing a lineup of elite athletes. Notably, four 2022 champions from the Turin event will compete at Laeken Park.
Norway's Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal aims for a third consecutive victory and her tenth individual medal in the senior women's category. She faces stiff competition from Italy's Nadia Battocletti, the defending U23 champion.
In the junior categories, last year's U20 winners Maria Forero of Spain and Will Barnicoat from Great Britain will progress to the U23 division.
The senior men's race anticipates a new champion as Norway's two-time winner Jakob Ingebrigtsen will not participate. Belgian runner Isaac Kimeli, a previous silver and bronze medallist, and Italy's Yemaneberhan Crippa, who seeks to add to his 2022 European Athletics Championships success, are among the top contenders.
Italy also aims to retain its mixed relay title, with Pietro Arese and Gaia Sabbatini, members of the previous year's winning team, included in the squad.
A notable debut comes from the Netherlands' Niels Laros, the European U20 1500m and 5000m champion, who missed last year due to illness. His main challenge may come from Denmark’s Axel Vang Christensen, the 2021 title holder who impressively won by 25 seconds at age 17.
The entire championships will be broadcast live on the All-Athletics platform, starting from 12:05 local time (CET) - see the live stream info here.