European Champion Steel Headlines Gb&Ni Team In China

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European Cross Country champion Gemma Steel (coach: John Nuttall) will headline the GB & NI team at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Guiyang, China on Saturday 29 March.

Steel, who is the only athlete in the team over the age of 23, fought all the way to the line to win the title in Bulgaria in December, and will head to the Far East looking to improve on a 31st place finish at the previous edition of the event in Bydgoszcz.

Joining the Charnwood AC athlete in the team is Rhona Auckland (Joyce Hogg), who will compete in the GB & NI vest for the first time since winning European U23 Cross Country gold shortly before Christmas.

After claiming the U20 women’s team bronze two years ago, Cross Challenge series winner Phoebe Law (Richard Holt), Bronwen Owen (Andrew Henderson), Hannah Nuttall (Bill Foster), Grace Baker (Mick Woods), Harriet Knowles-Jones (Paul Roden) and Amy Griffiths (Mick Woods) will be looking to replicate the achievements of their predecessors in China in two weeks time.

The Scottish, Welsh and English national cross country champions will all be present in the senior men’s team in Guiyang, with Andrew Butchart (Derek Easton), Dewi Griffiths (Kevin Evans) and Charlie Hulson (Roden) making up the first three places at Cofton Park on Saturday. Jonny Hay (Mick Woods), who was fourth in the race and fourth in the U23 race at the European Cross Country Championships will also be looking to continue his rich vein of form as GB & NI go head-to-head with the world’s best cross country athletes.

In the junior men’s team, Joe Steward (Harry Kelly) secured the first automatic qualifying place following his victory at Cofton Park on Saturday, closely followed by Jonathan Glen (Mark Pollard), who won the overall Cross Challenge series title after a consistent winter season. Elliot Bowker (Andrew Carter) took the final guaranteed spot on the team with a third place finish and will be accompanied by Chris Olley (Mark Hookway), Arkansas-based Alex George (Paul de-Camps) and Jac Hopkins (Kevin Tobin), winner of the Welsh U20 national championships and Cardiff Cross Challenge.

British Athletics’ Head of Endurance Barry Fudge said: “We have seen some encouraging performances throughout the cross country season, culminating with the Inter Counties last weekend.

“China will be another step up, but I’m confident that the young team selected will perform to their potential, which will bode well for future GB & NI cross country teams.”

GB & NI team for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Guiyang, China on Saturday 29 March 2015:

Senior men:

Andrew Butchart (Derek Easton)
Dewi Griffiths (Kevin Evans)
Jonny Hay (Mick Woods)
Charlie Hulson (Paul Roden)

Senior women:

Rhona Auckland (Joyce Hogg)
Gemma Steel (John Nuttall)

Junior men:

Elliot Bowker (Andrew Carter)
Alex George (Paul de-Camps)
Jonathan Glen (Mark Pollard)
Jac Hopkins (Kevin Tobin)
Chris Olley (Mark Hookway)
Joe Steward (Harry Kelly)

Junior women:

Grace Baker (Mick Woods)
Amy Griffiths (Mick Woods)
Harriet Knowles-Jones (Paul Roden)
Phoebe Law (Richard Holt)
Hannah Nuttall (Bill Foster)
Bronwen Owen (Andrew Henderson)