European Athletics today confirmed the cancellation of the 2020 edition of the SPAR European Cross Country Championships that was due to take place in Dublin, Ireland, on 13 December.
As a part of yesterday’s Executive Board meeting held in Lausanne, Switzerland, European Athletics spoke with the Fingal-Dublin 2020 Local Organising Committee concerning the current COVID-19 situation in Ireland and the impact that this may have on the 2020 European Cross Country Championships.
It soon became clear that due to the overall uncertainty on hosting mass sporting events, the existing sanitary restrictions in Ireland, and the travel restrictions imposed across Europe due to the coronavirus pandemic, it would not be possible to host the event as scheduled.
“The decision to cancel the Fingal-Dublin 2020 SPAR European Cross Country Athletics Championships was a very tough choice for European Athletics. Following the cancellation of the Paris 2020 European Athletics Championship a few months ago, this was the last opportunity for a major European Athletics event this year and cancelling it was not an option we chose lightly,” said European Athletics Interim President Dobromir Karamarinov.
“I know that all the athletes and entire athletics community were looking forward to this event but I ask them to keep heart. I would like to pay tribute to both the local organising committee for their commitment and hard work to date, and to Athletics Ireland for their fantastic support while we deal with these difficult times for our sport,” concluded Karamarinov.
Chairman of the Fingal-Dublin 2020 Local Organising Committee Liam Hennessy said: “We are disappointed that Fingal-Dublin will not have the opportunity to host the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in 2020 but we feel this was the only decision to make based on the current situation regarding COVID-19.”
Last years racing in Lisbon saw the Irish do exceptionally well and they were targeting an even better performance in Dublin 2020. The athletes will be disappointed as the event has been cancelled. Track stars Ciara Mageean, Nadia Power and Amy O’Donoghue had all been looking forward to the event and have been in great form recently. Mageean has claimed two new Irish records in past week, Power broke the U23 800m record in Italy and O’Donoghue claimed the 1500m National Title in August 2020.
In 2019, there was an outstanding show of talent as the Irish team competed at the European Cross Country Championships. The team was led by Olympic marathon runner Fionnuala McCormack, competing at her 16th EuroCross, finished in an admirable 4th place, leading the Irish Senior Team to a silver medal. Aoibhe Richardson and Ciara Mageean showed grit and determination as they finished the race, with just one point separating the Irish silver from the Portuguese bronze. Mary Mulhare, Una Britton and Fionnuala Ross rounded up the Irish Senior team. The team were targeting gold for 2020 and will be disappointed not to have this opportunity, particularly on home soil.
The U23 Team finished in 2nd place, with a stellar performance from Stephanie Cotter who achieved an individual bronze medal. The U20 Team picked up some great experience in international racing, finishing 11th overall. The mixed relay finished in 7th position, with a strong start from Nadia Power and a pacy leg from Amy O’Donoghue. They improved on the performance of the mixed relay before and O’Donoghue said they were looking to continue yet again, with EuroCross a main target for her 2020 season.