Home News DUBLIN 2009 JUNIOR MEN’S FINAL: Belgium’s D’Hoedt turns back the clock

DUBLIN 2009 JUNIOR MEN’S FINAL: Belgium’s D’Hoedt turns back the clock


From the AAI website It has been a decade since Belgium won a gold medal at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships but Jeroen D’Hoedt ran a tactically perfect race to add his name to the country’s long and historic roll of honour at the discipline.

D’Hoedt, the 2009 European Athletics Junior Championships 3000m steeplechase bronze medallist, covered the 6039 course in 18:46, clinching his victory by edging to the front with just under 400m to go.

In a thoroughly enjoyable and competitive race, a large group of 19 athletes went through the first three kilometres together with the pace being predominantly set by Norway’s Sondre Nordstad Moen and Belarus’ Siarhei Platonau, with the Czech Republic’s Jakub Zivec also showing strongly at the front.

In the fourth kilometre, Moen increased the pace in a bid to improve on last year’s silver medal but D’Hoedt and Britain’s James Wilkinson were not going to let him go.

The trio continued their duel right the way into the final kilometre when Moen started to flag slightly and slip back.

There was little to choose between D’Hoedt and Wilkinson until the final turn into the 400m-long finishing straight, when the Belgian made his move.

Coming from a distant fourth with a terrific charge down the final straight in front of the grandstand, Britain’s Nick Goolab firstly went past Moen and then overhauled his compatriot inches before the line to take the silver medal.

On paper, Goolab was only one second behind the winner but on the course the difference was more like 15 metres. Moen on this occasion had to settle for fourth but is still eligible to run in the juniors next year.

A slight disappointment was the performance of Spain’s David Bustos and Antonia Abadia, who respectively won the 2009 European Athletics Junior Championships 1500m and 3000m steeplechase titles in Novi Sad, Serbia, this summer.

They clearly were uncomfortable in the unfamiliar chilly and muddy conditions. Abadia finished 17th and Bustos 18th.

With Goolab and Wilkinson among the individual medals and Richard Goodman finishing fifth, Britain were comfortable winners of the team honours, recapturing the title they last won in 2001 with 24 points.

France, winners in 2007 and 2008, had to settle for second on this occasion with 58 points while Norway were third with 77 points.