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Norwich Union Great Britain & Northern Ireland pre-selections for World Cross

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9 January 2008


UK Athletics today announced the pre-selections of Stephanie Twell and Charlotte Purdue for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships to be staged in Edinburgh on 30 March.


The places in the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland Team are their rewards for winning medals at last month’s SPAR European Cross Country Championships, when Twell retained the Junior Women’s title and 16-year-old Purdue took third place to follow her fine run into 15th place at last winter’s World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa, Kenya.


Both athletes belong to Aldershot, Farnham and District AC and are coached by Mick Woods, UK Athletics Performance Coach at the UKA Endurance Performance Centre at St Mary’s University College Twickenham.


Woods said today: “Both girls fully deserve pre-selection but that does not mean they will sit back on their laurels. Stephanie is in the Senior Women’s race at the Great Edinburgh International on Saturday; and both might still run at the UK Inter-Counties Championships, which incorporate the World Trials, at Nottingham on 15 March.


“There is a lot of speculation about the possibility of Stephanie being ‘the next Paula Radcliffe’ but we are getting on with the job of making her the athlete she wants to be. We’re well aware that Paula won the World Cross Junior Women’s title in 1992 and that it would be trite to suggest Stephanie could emulate her in Edinburgh.


“Every year there are as many as 20 talented girls – most of them out of Africa – capable of winning the race, depending on how they feel on the day. Stephanie’s first target will be to establish a place in the top 10. How far up the top 10 depends on how she performs on the day – and, as we all know, anything can happen on a race day.


“Charlie ran outstandingly well to finish 15th in Mombasa, when even African athletes were falling by the wayside with dehydration and heat exhaustion. A repeat of that position would be superb for her in Edinburgh, where athletes are probably more likely to suffer from hypothermia!”


The remainder of the Norwich Union GB&NI team will be selected directly after the World Trials and announced on Tuesday 18 March. It is UKA’s intention to select full teams.


The senior men’s team will consist of nine athletes to run; the first four eligible senior athletes to finish the trial will be automatically selected. The selectors will fill the remaining places based on all known form up to and including the 15 March.


The senior women, junior men and women’s teams will consist of six athletes to run; the first three eligible senior and junior athletes in their trials will be automatically selected. The selectors will fill the remaining places based on all known form up to and including the 15 March.