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mccain antrim cross challenge

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Gemma Steel

17 January 2012

International athletes will take to the hills of Greenmount, Antrim this weekend for the annual Northern Irish cross country event - The IAAF International Cross.

The event, which takes place on Saturday 21 January, is part of the McCain UK Cross Challenge Series and is one of only eleven IAAF permitted cross country races in the world.

The senior women’s race will see another eagerly awaited contest between 2011/12 McCain Cross Challenge leader Gemma Steel (Coach: John Nuttall) and European Champion Fionnuala Britton, following their one-two performance at the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country International two weeks ago.

But the pair will also be challenged in the 5.6k race by three current World Junior medallists in Purity Kirui of Kenya, Ethiopia's Birtukan Adamu and Mekdes Bekele.

Following on from a top performance in Bristol at the start of the cross season, Annabel Gummow (Chris Wooldridge) took her second McCain Cross Challenge Series U20 win at the weekend in Cardiff, and will this time take to the senior women’s start line as she gears up for the English National Cross Country at Parliament Hill in February.

Frank Tickner (Self) put in another top performance for a win at the McCain Cardiff Cross Challenge despite a tweak in his heel after competing in Edinburgh - where he was Aviva GB & NI senior men’s top finisher – and is also named.

Buoyed by their Aviva GB & NI performances in Slovenia at the European Cross Country Championships, Ryan McLeod (John Nuttall) and James Walsh (Mike Baxter) will join Tickner in the 10.8k race, and Jonny Hay (Mick Woods) will look to make use his signature sprint finish to his advantage once again.

Live updates will be tweeted by @AthleticsNI and final report will be available on the UKA website following the event.

TV Coverage

Setanta Ireland broadcast times are:

Mon 30 Jan - 6pm
Wed 8 Feb - 4:30pm
Tues 14 Feb - 1:30am (Mon night)

Premier Sports:

20:00 - 01/02/12
21:30 - 02/02/12
22:00 - 04/02/12
19:00 - 07/02/12
21:30 - 08/02/12