Steel and Vernon shine at European Championships

08 December 2013 / 15:06

Great Britain and Northern Ireland topped the medal charts at the European Cross Country Championships and had both Gemma Steel and Andy Vernon pick up individual medals in the senior races.

Steel has been gathering quite a collection of medals at the championships, having taken individual bronze and team gold in 2011 as well as team silver in 2010.

And she was again on the medal rostrum in Belgrade, having held off the challenge of Portugal’s Dulce Felix to take silver in a time of 26.39 minutes, five seconds behind winner Sophie Duarte of France.

Meanwhile in the men’s race, Vernon produced a scintillating late burst to outsprint Belgium’s Jeroen D’Hoedt to take bronze on the line.

Lying down in the sixth place with 1,500m remaining, he dug deep late on to haul himself onto the podium behind eventual winner Alemayehu Bezabeh of Spain and silver medallist Polat Kemboi Arikan.

Elsewhere, Emelia Gorecka signed off her junior career in style after an impressive ten-second victory in the day’s first race.

Having been out front from the start, she finished in a time of 13.06 minutes ahead of Sofia Ennaoui of Poland, with Slovenia’s Marusa Mismas in third.

Fellow Brit Georgia Taylor-Brown missed out on a junior medal by four seconds finishing in fourth before Charlotte Perdue took bronze in the U23 race.

Such was the dominance of the Great Britain side that they picked up team gold for the women’s junior, under-23 and senior sides as well as the men’s under-23 team.

And with the men’s senior team also taking bronze, it left Britain top of the pile with nine medals overall, including five golds.