Christensen Dominates U20 Race

by Clay Shaw

Dublin, Ireland, European Cross Country, U20 Men’s 6K, December 12, 2021— In the first race of the day, the U20 Men started the SPAR European Cross Country Championships with a 6,000-meter race at the Sport Ireland Campus in Fingal-Dublin. [U20 means Under-20 or 19 years old or younger on 31 December in the year of the competition.]

Axel Vang Christensen (DEN) made quick work of his competitors, leading from start to finish, and winning in 17:53 with a 25-second margin of victory. “I am always nervous coming to a race, but I had a lot of confidence from my training sessions. I had a really good workout a few days ago, and I felt I was in really good shape. I was pretty confident, but, like I said, I am always nervous before coming to a race. Obviously, Abdullahi [Dahir Rabui], my teammate Joel [Ibler Lillesø], and Pol [Oriach] – the guy who beat me in the steeplechase this summer [at the U20 European Athletics Championships] – were my main opponents, so I felt I had to get my revenge here today. Having competed with them before was definitely an advantage, because I felt I had something to prove. I wanted to get that gold medal really bad.”

Abdullahi Dahir Rabi of Norway was second in 18:18. “It was a really tough race. It means a lot to be able to compete for Norway here today – I have been waiting for this moment for so long. To be able to run today is truly amazing. It was very tough, some great competitors out there. I was hoping to be able to fight, but I am very satisfied with second place. Hopefully, I will be able to take gold next time.”

Joel Ibler Lillesø of Denmark was third in 18:21, as two Danes earned medals, yet the country did not place among the teams. “It didn’t go exactly as I planned. I hoped to win, you know I came here for the gold. I just hoped to make double European Champion this year, but it didn´t happen . . . I don’t know if it was a bad day or if the guys were just better than me, but I came out with a medal, so that is kind of satisfying, but I have had gold so I want to achieve more. So, it is a bit of a disappointment, but I will come back stronger. I found out that cross country is maybe not for me. I´m fine at it, but I know I can do better on the track.”

Great Britain & Northern Ireland took the team gold.  Led by sixth place finisher Abdel Laadjel the host country Ireland earned the silver.  Israel took third.

Laadjel: “Yes, I´m really happy at the end of it. The first half wasn’t the best. But I came through. I think my strength really helped me for the last few races I’ve been in. I knew I was going to have the strength at the end of the race and it really brought me through. I know I’m better than the shape I am in today, so I know I can medal or win next year, so that is my goal for next year. I’m really happy, second – is that the first time we came second or first? I knew this was the best Irish U20 team we had, and I think we really showed it today. We are a really young team, all the guys are back next year and Nick is here for another two years so I think next year is a guaranteed gold win.”

Top Individual Results

  1. 17:53 Axel Vang Christensen, Denmark
  2. 18:18 Abdullahi Dahir Rabi, Norway
  3. 18:21 Joel Ibler Lilleso, Denmark
  4. 18:24 Pol Oriach, Spain
  5. 18:30 Andriy Atamanyuk, Ukraine
  6. 18:30 Abdel Laadjel, Ireland
  7. 18:30 Matan Ivri, Israel
  8. 18:31 Edouard Morin-Luzuy, France
  9. 18:31 Will Barnicoat, Great Britain & Northern Ireland
  10. 18:32 Hamish Armitt, Great Britain & Northern Ireland
  11. 18:34 Adisu Guadia, Israel
  12. 18:37 Sebastian Frey, Austria
  13. 18:38 Dean Casey, Ireland
  14. 18:40 Vebjorn Hovdejord, Norway
  15. 18:42 Henry McLuckie, Great Britain & Northern Ireland
  16. 18:42 Nicholas Griggs, Ireland
  17. 18:44 Jules Robin, France
  18. 18:46 Noah Konteh, Belgium
  19. 18:47 Derba Ayale, Israel
  20. 18:48 Benjamin Dern, Germany
  21. 18:49 Scott Fagan, Ireland
  22. 18:49 Osian Perrin, Great Britain & Northern Ireland
  23. 18:51 Luc LeBaron, France
  24. 18:52 Kevin Kamenschak, Austria
  25. 18:53 Liam Rawlings, Great Britain & Northern Ireland
  26. 18:56 Philip Massacand, Norway
  27. 18:58 Marc Fernandez, Spain
  28. 18:58 Pedro Amaro, Portugal
  29. 18:58 Eric Lore, Spain
  30. 18:59 Theo Seingier, France
On the first lap of the U20 race Axel Vang Christensen of Denmark actually had some company. Abdullahi Dahir Rabi of Norway, and another Dane, Joel Ibler Lilleso, would also be on the podium. Dean Casey of Ireland placed 12th, helping Ireland to team silver.
Mathias Vanem Aas of Norway on lap one with Wout Louagie of Belgium and Nicolo Cornali of Italy.
Kirill Mitrofanov, an Authorized Neutral Athlete, and Fikadu Gonzalez of Spain have good form on lap one in Dublin.
Axel Vang Christensen of Norway is all alone except for the blue vested photographers in the U20 race.
Axel Vang Christensen of Demark won the U20 in 17:53. He had a winning margin of 25 seconds!
Chase pack of the U20 race. Joel Ibler Lilleso of Demark, Henry McLuckie of GBR, Abdullahi Dahir Rabi of Norway, and Adisu Guadia of Israel chase Christensen.
Andriy Atamanyuk of Ukraine takes fifth overall, as athletes make their final charge to the finish. Abdel Laadjel of Ireland was sixth, Matan Ivri of Israel was seventh, and Edouard Morin-Luzuy of France was eighth.
Andriy Atamanyuk of Ukraine leads a strong group on way to fifth overall. Brits Osian Perrin, and Hamish Armitt would lead GBR to team gold. Pol Oriach of Spain earned fourth overall.
Henry McLuckie of Great Britain & Northern Ireland finished 15th, and helped lead GBR to the team gold in the U20 race.
Team sport, and every place counts. Osian Perrin of GBR takes 22nd, while Scott Fagan of Ireland was 21st. Great Britain & Northern Ireland did win the team gold. Ireland earned the silver.

Categories: Race Coverage

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