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UK Athletics

Norwich Union GB Team selected for European Cross Country Championships

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UK Athletics today named 36 athletes in the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland Team for the SPAR European Cross Country Championships to be staged in San Giorgio su Legnano, Italy, on Sunday 10 December.


The team includes European 5000m Silver medallist Mo Farah who won an international race in Dunkirk yesterday to emphatically prove his fitness, Commonwealth 5000m Silver medallist Jo Pavey, 2004 European Cross Country Champion Hayley Yelling, Commonwealth marathon Bronze medallist Liz Yelling and European Junior 5000m Champion Emily Pidgeon, who won the Silver medal at last winter’s European Cross Country Championships.


The selections were made after Saturday’s trial races at the UK Cross Challenge meeting in Liverpool; and the selectors took into account the current form of all the contenders. The selections are:


Senior Men: Mo Farah (Newham and Essex Beagles), Mike Skinner (Blackheath and Bromley), Chris Thompson (Aldershot, Farnham and District), Gavin Thompson (Crawley AC), Frank Tickner (Wells City Harriers), Steve Vernon (Stockport Harriers).


Under 23 Men: Matt Ashton (Aldershot, Farnham and District), Andrew Baker (Loughborough Students), Rob Bugden (Bristol and West), Sean Dirrane (Leeds City), Tom Humphries (Cannock and Stafford), Andy Vernon* (Aldershot, Farnham and District).


Junior Men: Kevin Deighton (Bridlington RR), Rory Fraser (Oadby and Wigston Legionnaires), Tom Minshull (Trafford AC), Jon Pepper (Enfield and Haringey), Ricky Stevenson (New Marske Harriers), Lewis Timmins (Gosforth Harriers).


Senior Women: Natalie Harvey (South London Harriers), Felicity Milton (Durham University), Jo Pavey (Exeter Harriers), Kate Reed (Bristol and West), Hayley Yelling (Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow), Liz Yelling (Bedford and County).


Under 23 Women: Emily Adams (Aldershot, Farnham and District), Faye Fullerton (Havering Mayesbrook, subject to confirming fitness), Aine Hoban (Wakefield Harriers), Claire Holme (Ipswich AC), Laura Kenney (Royal Sutton Coldfield), Hannah Whitmore (Charnwood AC).


Junior Women: Jessica Coulson (Stockport Harriers), Sian Edwards (Kettering Town Harriers), Olivia Kenney (Royal Sutton Coldfield), Emily Pidgeon (Gloucester AC), Stephanie Twell (Aldershot, Farnham and District), Abby Westley (Loughborough Students).


* indicates that if Andy Vernon, Silver medallist in the Junior Men’s race at last year’s European Cross Country Championships, is promoted to the Senior Men’s Team, he will be replaced by a reserve in the Under 23 Men’s race.


UK Athletics Senior Coordinator for Endurance Spencer Barden said: "We have established ourselves as the most successful nation at recent European Cross Country Championships but are well aware that we will face strong competition from several quarters in Italy. We are confident, however, that we have selected the best possible team on form to give ourselves the best chance of earning both team and individual medals."


Peter Riley (Leigh Harriers), who was pre-selected after winning the UK Cross Challenge at Birmingham, has withdrawn following a below-par 10km run in the Chiba Ekiden Relay last week and will take a short break from athletics.