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aviva gb & NI team update: bupa great edinburgh cross country

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Emelia Gorecka
European junior cross country champion Emelia Gorecka will race in Edinburgh this weekend

05 January 2012

The Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland team, including European junior cross country champion Emelia Gorecka (coach: Mick Woods), will compete this weekend for the first time since enjoying its best ever result at the European Cross Country Championships in Slovenia in December, winning 12 medals - including two individual gold - to top the medal table for the fourth successive year.

Since the initial selection in December, a trio of athletes have been brought into the team for the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country International Challenge in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh on Saturday (7 January), following the withdrawal of Emma Pallant (Mick Woods), Phil Wicks (Matt Whiting) and Richard Goodman (Geoff Williams).

European under-23 cross country champion Pallant was ill over the festive period and will be replaced in the senior women’s event by Scottish athlete Rosie Smith, 15th in Edinburgh in 2010, who returns to international duty for the first time since competing as a junior at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Brussels in 2004.

runbritain Grand Prix winner Wicks has withdrawn after missing a block of training over Christmas and will be replaced by Jonathan Taylor (Gordon Surtees), 2011 BUCS Championship 1500m silver medallist, while European junior cross country silver medallist Goodman, like Pallant recovering from a minor injury and opting out on a precautionary basis, will be replaced by Gordon Benson (Philip Townsend) - 2011 European Youth Olympic 3000m silver medallist - in the junior men’s team.

The junior women’s team remains as initially selected.

A number of those in this weekend’s Aviva GB & NI team competed over the Christmas break. Highlights included a sixth place finish for Steve Vernon (Dave Turnbull), who only just missed out on selection for the European Cross Country Championships, in the Lotto Cross Cup in Belgium, with Tom Humphries (Phil Clamp) in ninth and European under-23 cross country silver medallist James Wilkinson in 11th.

In the senior women’s race, Hatti Dean (Bud Baldaro) made a welcome return to top form when finishing sixth ahead of Stephanie Twell (Mick Woods) in seventh, while British athletes competing in Edinburgh dominated the junior men's 6km race with Kieran Clements (Stephen Benson), ninth in the European Cross, leading a GBR 1-2-3-4 which also included 2010 Youth Olympic Games bronze medallist Charlie Grice (Jon Biggs).

Twell will take part in tomorrow's pre-event press conference at 11.00.

The Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country International Challenge will take place on 7 January with the international events starting at 12.00. In addition to the UKA web report, you can also keep up to date on results via Twitter at: @UKA_athletics

AVIVA GB & NI TEAM

SENIOR MEN

Keith Gerrard (Nick Anderson) - Newham & Essex Beagles; Derek Hawkins (Lawrie Spence) - Kilbarchan AC; Tom Humphries (Phil Clamp) - Cannock & Stafford; Ryan McLeod (John Nuttall) - Tipton Harriers; Jonathan Taylor (Gordon Surtees) - Morpeth; Frank Tickner (Self) - Wells AC; Steve Vernon (David Turnbull) - Stockport; James Walsh (Mike Baxter) - Leeds City; James Wilkinson (Phil Townsend) - Leeds City AC

SENIOR WOMEN

Elle Baker (Dave Turnbull) - Stockport; Amy Campbell (Bill Foster) - Shaftesbury Barnet; Hatti Dean (Bud Baldaro) - Hallamshire Harriers; Freya Murray (Steve Jones) - Edinburgh AC; Rosie Smith (Max Coleby) - Durham; Gemma Steel (John Nuttall) - Charnwood AC; Naomi Taschimowitz (Charlotte Fisher) - Taunton; Stephanie Twell (Mick Woods) - Aldershot, Farnham & District; Hannah Walker (Bud Baldaro) - Birchfield

JUNIOR MEN

Gordon Benson (Phil Townsend) - Leeds City; Kieran Clements (Steve Benson) - Ipswich; Robbie Farnham-Rose (Mark Hookway) - Tonbridge; Jack Goodwin (Simon Goodwin) - Bedford & County; Charlie Grice (Jon Bigg) - Phoenix AC; Mark Shaw (Steve Shaw) - New Marske

JUNIOR WOMEN

Grace Baker (Mick Woods) - Aldershot, Farnham & District; Emelia Gorecka (Mick Woods) - Aldershot, Farnham & District; Amy Griffiths (Mick Woods) - Leicester; Annabel Gummow (Chris Wooldridge) - Bristol & West; Iona Lake (Tim/Pauline Ash) - Norwich; Laura Muir (Alan Mackintosh) - Dundee Hawkhill