European U20 1500m and 5000m champion Niels Laros will make his debut at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Brussels on 10 December.
Laros, who was forced to miss last year’s event in La Mandria Park near Turin due to illness, is part of an 18-strong Dutch team which was named today.
The 18-year-old has been peerless on the track this summer but the Dutchman will face one of the strongest ever fields in the U20 race next month, including 2021 winner Axel Vang Christensen from Denmark and 2021 European U20 3000m champion Nick Griggs from Ireland.
But if Laros does triumph, he will follow in the footsteps of compatriot Gert-Jan Liefers, who won the inaugural men’s European U20 cross country title in 1997. Laros relieved Liefers of his Dutch 1500m record this summer, clocking 3:31.25 at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest.
Other notable names on the Dutch team include Filmon Tesfu in the senior men’s race and 3000m steeplechase specialist Veerle Bakker – who finished tenth last year – in the senior women’s race.
The very experienced Maureen Koster – a former gold medallist in the senior women’s team race – heads up their mixed relay team.
The Netherlands have won eight gold medals in SPAR European Cross Country Championships history. Two of those eight gold medals came from Brussels staged the 2008 edition of the championships.
Susan Krumins won U23 gold under her maiden name of Kuijken and Hilda Kibet cruised to victory in the senior women’s race to follow in the footsteps of her cousin Lornah Kiplagat who had won this title three years earlier.
The 2023 SPAR European Cross Country Championships will be streamed live through the All-Athletics platform.