Canberra, Australia; 1 March 2024: The first Australian athletes for the 2024 World Athletics Cross Country Championships have been named, with Victorian Haftu Strintzos and Canberran local Paige Campbell set to lead the charge in Serbia after storming to victory at Stromlo Forest to confirm their selection alongside distance veterans Liam Adams and Melissa Duncan.

Villanova product Haftu Strintzos (VIC) made an emphatic return down under when punching his ticket to his maiden Australian team, grinding his competitors into the ground over four gruelling laps of Stromlo Forest.

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Strintzos reigned supreme in 30:04 for the 10km circuit, beating two-time Olympian Liam Adams (30:09, VIC) who also secured automatic selection for the 2024 World Cross Country Championships, while Zach Facioni (30:12, VIC) followed on in third.

“Absolutely, I knew I was capable of winning on a good day. I was quite determined because I’ve missed out in the past on Worlds teams, so this one is special,” Strintzos said.

The 24-year-old cited his racing experience in the NCAA as a key factor in his success.

Haftu Strintzos 

“You gain a lot of experience in the NCAA, I have done this so many times before, so I was pretty confident in myself and I have a pretty special relationship with cross country,” Strintzos said.

Five years after impressing at the 2019 World Athletics Cross Country Championships, Paige Campbell (35:22, ACT) raced to victory in the Women’s 10km – defeating the experienced Melissa Duncan (VIC) by 10 seconds, and third-place getter Maudie Skyring (35:38, VIC).

Having returned to racing this year following two years of battling injuries, Campbell raced alongside Duncan, Skyring and marathoner Sarah Klein (VIC) and saw a chance to create a gap in the last lap to solidify her place on the Australian team.


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“I haven’t had the best couple of years, it’s been really rough, so to start to get a few performances on the board is really good and I owe a lot of that to my coach Dick (Telford). I think I came 29th at World Cross in 2019, so I’m hoping to get in the top 20 – anywhere around there is pretty damn good,” Campbell said.

Jack Coomber (QLD) put his best foot forward for back-to-back World Cross Championships with a gritty win in the Under 20 Men’s 8km, clocking 25:17 to beat home teammate Charlie Moore (25:21, QLD) and Western Australia’s Ky Hehir (25:24, WA).

Covering the moves from his teammate Moore who was valiant in his bid for an Australian team debut, the Brisbane product made a move of his own when proving too strong in the final 500m to continue his hot streak at Stromlo Forest.

“Last year I had nothing to lose, but this year I wanted that first place only. Obviously top three was the goal but number one was what I really wanted,” Coomber said.

Jack Coomber
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“In the World Championships, I didn’t run as well as I would have liked. It’s been a big mindset change for how to run a race properly against people from across the world. I know what I have to do this year and I know how good everyone else is.”

Fellow Australian representative in 2023’s Bathurst Championships, Gabby Schmidt (QLD) snuck away from the field to clinch the Under 20 Women’s 6km title in a slick 21:25, finishing ahead of Charli-Rose Carlyon (21:30, WA) and Emma de Jong (21:45, VIC).

The 2024 World Athletics Cross Country Championships will be held in Belgrade, Serbia on March 30, with the full Australian team to be announced in the coming weeks.