AFD's Gorecka's not going for goldBy Jon Couch
March 14, 2013
DOMINANT Emelia Gorecka insisted she was not setting herself any medal targets in the World Cross Country Championships despite qualifying so impressively at the weekend.
The Aldershot, Farnham & District star led the field from start to finish to win the Under 20’s women’s trial in the UK Cross Finals at Cofton Park, Birmingham, to book her place for Bydgoszcz, Poland, later this month.
The 19-year-old finished a creditable 15th in her last World Championship foray in Spain two years ago, but having dominated on the national stage since then under coach Mick Woods, she is expected to go a lot closer this time around.
Gorecka, however, is keeping her head above water and is just keen on improving on her last position.
“Everyone wants to progress on what they did last time,” she said after her UK Cross Challenge victory on Saturday.
“I’m not setting myself any limits, I want to challenge the Africans and whoever is up there because that’s the point of the world cross, to compete against the best in the world.
“I am really happy with the way I performed. I had flu last week so I was out of training for five days, which made today more nerve-wracking than usual.
“I had to race a little differently, because I lost quite a lot of nutrients, but I had to focus on the positives in that training has been going really well. Every time I stand on the start line of a domestic championships, I really want to win. So that’s what I was focused on.”
Gorecka soon split her rivals early before dropping the last of her challengers, Bobby Clay of Invicta East Kent, by halfway in the six-kilometre race.
Up to six places were available in each of Great Britain’s four teams for Poland later this month – and fourth, fifth and sixth places were all taken by AFD runners in the senior womens’ trial.
Emily Wicks finished four seconds behind third-placed Gemma Steel, bronze medallist in the 2011 European Championships, and was followed home by Steph Twell and then Lily Partridge.
In the inter-counties competition which incorporated these trials, Twell and Winchester's Louise Damen, who won the race from Stockport's Elle Baker, led Hampshire to a successful defence of the team title.
The silver medals went to Surrey who, as well as Wicks and Partridge, had Georgie Bruinvels in 11th and a fourth AFD athlete, Montana Jones, closing the scoring sextet.
Their club colleague Andy Vernon moved through the senior men's field to finish third behind Frank Tickner of Wells City Harriers and Steve Vernon of Stockport Harriers.
AFD's highest placed runner in the young athletes' races was Daisy D'Santos whose fourth in the U15 girls' event led a quartet (completed by Becca Pantony) to a set of bronze medals for Hampshire.
Harriet Preedy, 18th, was a member of Surrey's winning U17 women's team and Sam Eglen, 22nd, closed the Surrey team that won the U20 men's contest.
Jack Boswell (34th) closed Hampshire's silver-medal winning quartet in the U15 boys' event and Stacey Burrows (24th) contributed to the county's bronze-medal winning performance in the U13 girls'.
The AFD athletes competed at the McCain UK Cross Challenge Finals in Birmingham. For more information on how to get involved in athletics, visit www.mccaintrackandfield.co.uk.