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Brilliant Gorecka retains European junior cross country title

The 19-year-old runner made a move at the halfway point in the race and ultimately stormed to victory

Emelia Gorecka has retained her European Junior Cross Country Championships title

Aldershot, Farnham & District starlet Emelia Gorecka became the first runner ever to regain the European Junior Women's Cross Country title with a storming run in the Serbian capital of Belgade at the weekend.

The 19-year-old doubled up on her European track success to win by 10 clear seconds and lead Great Britain to a gold medal in the team competition after all four scorers finished in the top 11.

Gorecka followed hot on the heels of rival Marusa Mismas after the Slovenian made a move just before halfway in the 4km race.

She then assumed her familiar position at the front of the field and after Mismas conceded the silver medal position to Poland's Sofia Ennaoui, Gorecka cruised to a popular victory to claim her sixth gold medal at these championships. Club mate Amy Griffiths came in 47th.

AFD's most successful race of the day, however, came in the Women's Under 23 race, fronted by Charlie Purdue, who powered home for a superb bronze medal.

This was all the more sweet for the 22-year-old, who has only been in training for a few months after the latest of the injuries that have prevented her from contesting these championships since she won the junior title in 2010. 

Purdue finished just in front of team-mate Lily Partridge, while the third AFD member of the squad, Jess Andrews, came in 16th to hand the Great Britain team another gold medal.

The third AFD athlete to take an individual medal on the day was Andy Vernon, who moved up from sixth to third in the last 400m of the day's final race - the senior men's - to claim a hard-earned bronze medal. 

Two other AFD members also contributed to British triumphs - Steph Twell, who finished 15th in the senior women's event, and Jonny Hay, who came in 12th in the U23 men's. Jack Crabtree was 29th in the junior men's competition.

 

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