Serbiato Host 2024 World Athletics Cross Country Championships

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Serbia has been awarded the privilege of hosting the 2024 World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Belgrade. The event is scheduled for March 30, 2024, and will take place at the Park of Friendship, a picturesque location near the Danube River. Initially, the hosting rights were granted to Croatian cities, but they were deemed unprepared to organize the competition.

Champion Jacob Kiplimo (R) and Joshua Cheptegei

Belgrade is establishing itself as a reliable host of world class competitions,” says World Athletics President Sebastian Coe.  Serbia will host the 2024 World Athletics Cross Country Championships in March next year after being awarded the role by the World Athletics Council, World Athletics said in a press release on Wednesday.

The one-day competition will be held in the Park of Friendship, next to the Danube River in the heart of Belgrade, which was also the site of the 2013 European Championships.

This will be the European city’s second World Athletics Series event to host in two years, after the 2022 World Athletics Indoor Championships. Uganda’s Halimah Nakaayi (pictured below) bagged Uganda’s only medal at that three-day indoors competition last year when she took 800m bronze inside a packed Stark Arena.

The hosting duties for the 2024 World Cross Country Championships had been initially awarded to the Croatian cities of Medulin and Pula.

But months to the scheduled event, they were deemed not ready to host the competition.

In mid-September, World Athletics announced that a new European host was being sought, adding at the time that it was “in advanced negotiations with an alternative host in Europe”.

The competition had originally been set to happen on February 10 next year until the world athletics governing body felt that preparations had not “advanced sufficiently” for Medulin and Pula to host it.

‘’Belgrade is establishing itself as a reliable host of world class competitions,” World Athletics President Sebastian Coe is quoted as commenting as regards Wednesday’s announcement.

“Following a memorable 2022 World Indoor Championships, we are confident that the organization of our 2024 World Cross Country Championships is in a safe pair of hands.”

Belgrade has hosted several major track and field events over the years, including the 1962 European Championships, 2013 European Cross Country Championships, 2017 European Indoor Championships and the 2017 Balkan Championships.

The World Athletics Council has also approved the dates for the World Athletics U20 Championships in Eugene, Oregon (USA), which will be held on August 4-9, 2026, and for the World Athletics Road Running Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark to be held on September 19-20, 2026.

The World Athletics cross country championships have junior (men and women), senior (men and women) and mixed relay events.

Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo is the defending champion in the senior men category.

At the previous edition in the Australian city of Bathurst, Kiplimo’s compatriot Joshua Cheptegei took silver.

Uganda also took two senior team bronze medals.

Kenya topped the medal table with 10 medals (including six gold), Ethiopia was second also on 10 medals but with two gold while Uganda was third on four medals.

The US took two medals and hosts Australia bagged one medal.

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