Great Britain and Northern Ireland are set for another medal assault on the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Serbia next month after a 36-strong team was announced this week. The annual event has been a source of many an early Christmas present for British athletes in recent years as they top the medal table year-on-year.
Amongst the team is Emelia Gorecka (Aldershot, Farnham & District) who will be going for her fourth successive medal in the women's under 20 race after collecting the full set of gold, silver and bronze in the last three years.
She said: "I'd like to go back to first and end on a high. I think I'm in good shape and I have lots of experience from the last few years; this will be my fourth European Championship as a junior which not many people are able to do."
The GB & NI senior teams will be led by Andy Vernon (Aldershot, Farnham & District) and Gemma Steel (Charnwood), who were standout winners of their respective trial races at the Liverpool Cross Challenge on Saturday and will be contenders for individual medals in Serbia.
Every member of the team came home with a medal from Budapest in 2012 as GB & NI topped the medal table with a total of ten medals and team leader Neil Black, British Athletics performance director, is looking for a repeat performance this time around for both males and female in senior, under 23 and under 20 races.
Black said: "As a team we have a great record at these championships in recent years and I'm confident that the athletes selected will continue that record in Belgrade. The importance of these championships is reflected in the fact that we have selected full teams with a good mix of experienced world-class athletes and younger developing athletes. The team will have a great chance of success and will be able to take away valuable experience."