Karamarinov: "Europe is still at the heart of cross-country". GETTY IMAGES

European Athletics President Dobromir Karamarinov shares his thoughts on the recent World Cross Country Championships held in Belgrade, Serbia at the end of March.

The World Athletics Cross Country Championships took place on 30 March in Belgrade, Serbia, where Africa once again demonstrated its superiority in this discipline. Beatrice Chebet, Lilian Rengeruk and Margaret Kipkemboi - the three from Kenya - completed the women's podium, while Uganda's Jacob Kiplimo, Ethiopia's Berihu Aregawi and Kenya's Benson Kiplangat did the same for the men.

European Athletics President Dobromir Karamarinov gave his assessment of the event: "I would like to congratulate everyone involved in the World Cross Country Championships. It was a superbly organised event and I think a lot of credit goes to my friends at the Serbian Athletics Federation (Srpski Atletski Savez) and especially to its President Veselin Jevrosimovic and General Secretary Slobodan Brankovic," said Karamarinov.

The good news for Europe was a third place, the first medal for seven years, for Great Britain in the Mixed Relay category with Thomas Keen, Alexandra Millard, Adam Fogg and Bethan Morley. The first European in the women's race was Karoline Grovdal of Norway, seeded 14th, and in the men's race, Thierry Ndikumwenayo of Spain, seeded 9th.

"And although medals have been hard to come by for our member federations in recent years, it must be emphasised that Europe is still at the heart of this particular discipline in our wonderfully varied and diverse sport," Karamarinov continued.

"Competitive cross-country running as we know it was born in Europe in the 19th century.  European countries have hosted six of the last ten World Cross Country Championships. Last winter, 21 of the 26 World Athletics Cross Country Tour meetings were held in Europe. This shows the interest in cross country running throughout Europe," he stressed.

This summer is a busy one for Europe, with continental competition and the Olympic Games, where Europeans won 18 athletics gold medals at the last edition, Tokyo 2020. We are now looking forward to an exciting summer, with both the European Athletics Championships in Rome 2024 and the Olympic Games in Paris 2024 fast approaching," he said.

"However, I believe that the next SPAR European Cross Country Championships on 8 December - when we bring this event to Turkey for the first time with this event with Antalya as the host city - will once again demonstrate that cross country running is thriving in Europe," Karamarinov concluded.