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Australian World Cross Country team arrives in Portugal

Australian World Cross Country team arrives in Portugal
Athletics Australia
15 March 2000 - A small but strong team of Optus Southern Stars will represent Australia at the 28th annual IAAF World Cross Championships in Vilamoura, Portugal on the weekend, 18-19 March.

Clair Fearnley (Victoria) and Kylie Risk (Tasmania) will compete in the women’s long course event over 8km. Michael Power and Anne Cross (Vic) will run the short course races over 4km.

Fearnley had a tremendous Optus Grand Prix season with two personal bests over 10,000m and one over 5000m. She clocked 31:55.65 to win the Australian 10,000m Championships at Stadium Australia in February after running 32:18.22 for third at the Optus Zatopek Classic in Melbourne in December. Her nationals’ time places her fifth on the Australian all-time ranking list.

Over 5000m Fearnley set a personal best of 15:14.26 at the Optus Sydney Grand Prix in February which places her third on the Australian all-time list. She is one place behind team-mate Kylie Risk who ran 15:13.44 in Hobart in December.

Risk also ran well over 10,000m this season with a best of 31:58.90 when second at the Optus Zatopek Classic. She has a good record in the World Cross Country Championships, considered to be one of the toughest events in athletics, including a 21st in 1996 and 1997, 19th in 1998 and 28th in 1999. Fearnley was 74th last year and 77th in 1996.

Anne Cross performed well throughout the season over 5000m with three Olympic A qualifiers including a best of 15:20.78.

Michael Power, who has recorded two Olympic A qualifiers over 5000m, is one of the rising distance stars in Australia. His personal best of 13:27.07 was set at the Optus Brisbane Grand Prix and he clocked another Olympic qualifier when victorious at the Australian Championships, both in February.

Power will enter the World Cross Championships with an excellent cross country record following his stint at the University of Arkansas in the US. He competed regularly and successfully in cross country events on the American collegiate circuit in 1998 and 1999 including a second place in the NCAA (National Collegiate Association of America) Cross Country Championships last year.

Australia’s best all-time performance at the World Cross Country Championships is a fourth placing by Steve Moneghetti (Vic) in 1989, while in the women’s race, Jackie Perkins (Vic) recorded a fifth placing, also in 1989.