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Athletics - 31. May 2008.

2008 SPAR European Cross Country no longer in Oostende

Due to unseasonal wet weather conditions experienced in Belgium during the springtime, European Athletics has requested that the Belgian Athletic Federation (KBAB) look for an alternative venue for the SPAR European Cross Country Championships, which were originally due to take place in Oostende on December 14, 2008.

The record levels of rainfall which fell in Northern Europe since the beginning of the year has meant that planned renovation works on the circuit at the Sportpark De Schorre in Oostende suffered major delays and therefore put the success of the event in doubt.

After initial concerns were raised about the venue earlier this year, a delegation of European Athletics experts visited the course in May and set a deadline for a guarantee of a return to its previous condition. This was not possible, and subsequently European Athletics informed the Belgian authorities of the need to find a different venue in Belgium.

Hansjörg Wirz, the President of European Athletics said " We are disappointed to have to make this decision as I know from previous experience that Oostende has a great tradition in hosting major events, especially the 2001 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, which were successfully organised after being awarded the event just 3 weeks before the Championships were due to commence"

"However, the risk of not having perfect conditions for the athletes was just too high on this occasion. The success of this event is paramount to European Athletics and we are confident that the Belgian authorities will propose another venue which will ensure the 2008 edition will remain in Belgium and be a big success" he added.

Nancy Bourgoignie, the Sports Officer for the City expressed her great regret about the decision as the city authorities had made big efforts to transform the Sportpark De Schorre into a beautiful location for sporting events like the SPAR European Cross Country Championships.

She did however confirm that the city looks forward to being able to host events like the SPAR European Cross Country Championship or the World Cross Country Championship in the future.
 
A decision on a venue for the 2008 SPAR European cross Country Championships will be confirmed in the near future.
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