ATHLETICS: Thomas Ayeko and Lpuise Carton confirmed for Greenmount Cross Country International

Thomas Ayeko.
Thomas Ayeko.

Defending men’s champion Thomas Ayeko of Uganda and newly crowned European U23 gold medallist Louise Carton of Belgium are the latest big names announced for the Greenmount Cross Country International.

The meeting on January 16 has one of only 12 IAAF World Cross Country permits and is supported by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.

Ayeko has a great record in the Greenmount spectacular. He had a runaway victory by 37 seconds in 2013 and then just lost in a photo finish to world champion Japhet Korir of Kenya in 2014 before winning by 13 seconds from Edwin Sol last time.

He is in tremendous form, placing fifth in the Great North Run won by Mo Farah. His time of 61 minutes 14 was just two seconds off his best.

He ran a personal best in October for the full marathon with 2:12:17 in Rennes, France and another victory can be on the cards.

Twenty-one-year-old Louise Carton produced a power packed exhibition to win the Euro Under 23 title in Hyeres, France on Sunday.

Jip Vastenberg of the Netherlands was hot favourite but Louise, seventh the previous year, attacked at halfway and was soon well clear for a tremendous victory.

She was also silver medallist in the Euro Under 23 5,000 metres.

Already announced for Greenmount are Ethiopian pair Belaynesh Oljira the 2013 World 10,000 bronze medallist and Etagegu Woldu, who came third in the World Junior Cross Country in March.

More top names are expected in the very near future.