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Gibraltar team complete SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Italy

Gibraltar for a third consecutive time send a full team to the SPAR European Cross Country Championships this year held in Piemonte, Italy.
Against a very strong field, including some of the top European cross country runners , Gibraltar had little chance to even think of getting anywhere near a podium finish. However, the mere participation and the fact all five athletes were to finish this time round, was once again to highlight Gibraltar’s place in European athletics where some countries had not been able to send a full team themselves.

Gibraltar’s team was made up by Athletes:
Maurice Turnock (Team Captain)
Richard Blagg
Leon Gordon
Robert Matto
Arnold Rogers

There was some cheer for Gibraltar with Arnold Rogers coming ahead of runners from Luxembourg, San Marino, Albania and Monaco.

Running on a course that had seen the U20’s, U23s and mixed relays run just moments earlier the terrain was rough and gruelling. Having to go through a castle, quite literally through one of its courtyards and halls, they would be met with some steep inclines and slippery downhills which were far removed from the concrete and tar roads the Gibraltar team were accustomed to.
There was a large turn out for the races, with spectators able to watch some of the top European cross country athletes on show. Whilst the races brought together not just cross country runners, but also track runners taking on the rough terrains of cross country running.
The men’s senior race was won by Norway’s Jakob Ingerbrigtsen, the defending champion, who provided an exciting well-timed race, which saw him kick into the lead in the final 200m opening a gap which could not be easily closed at the end.
Gibraltar was to get some recognition for its presence with The Sports Gazette producing a feature article on Gibraltar’s athletes. Highlighting how the five-man team was the equivalent of a British team sending 10,000 athletes considering Gibraltar’s population.
Team captain Maurice Turnock was to tell the Sports Gazette “We are facing tough competition, we know that. We know we won’t win any medals, we’re not here for the medals. We are here to provide experience and to put Gibraltar on the map.”
Further adding: “It shows is there is commitment, a love for the sport, and a love of developing the sport.”
Teammate Robert Matto also told the Sports Gazette “We try our best to show youngsters what the fruits of their hard work can lead to.
“A lot of people are naturally gifted, but sometimes a lot of athletes, what you put in is what you get out. Hard work sometimes pays off.”
Gibraltar was this year missing Harvey Dixon but the team was able to see all its competitors finish, something that last year proved difficult.

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