Athletics - Coulson stars for GB in Budapest

Jess Coulson was the toast of a table-topping Great Britain and Northern Ireland team at the European Cross Country Championships as she claimed women's under-23 gold in Budapest.

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It was a successful trip to Hungary for the team who came away with two gold, three silver and five bronze medals for a fourth clean sweep in five years.

But there was no doubt who the star of the show was as Coulson claimed the only individual gold for the team, successfully defending the title Emma Pallant claimed 12 months ago.

It was a dominant performance for Coulson as she claimed victory by over 50 metres, crossing the line in 20:40 minutes.

Coulson left her charge late, making a move on the second to last lap to leave the chasing pack trailing behind, and she admits she felt at ease in the cold Budapest weather.

"This has been a long time coming," she said. "The last time I made a GB team was five years ago.

"I put it down to my coach, Mick Woods. I just really worked hard and I enjoyed it out there, I was even singing to myself on the way around.

"I just felt good. I got going and then didn’t stop."

The under-23 women's team finished with silver overall behind Russia, with Lauren Howarth finishing fifth, Hannah walker 12th and Lily Partridge 15th to pick up points.

Finishing outside the points were Beth Potter in 17th and Hannah Alderson in 62nd.

In the men's under-23 competition Great Britain and Northern Ireland came away with a team bronze, sparked by James Wilkinson's third-place finish.

Last year's silver medallist Wilkinson came home in 24:43 minutes to claim a podium place, the race itself won by defending champion Henrik Ingebrigsten in 24:30 mnutes.

Wilkinson was joined by Andrew Heyes who finished 16th, Simon Horsfield who came in 23rd and Dewi Griffiths who finished 38th to pick up points in order for the team to take bronze.

Scott McDonald, representing Great Britain and Northern Ireland at cross country for the first time, finished outside the points in 45th, with Nick Goolab crossing in 75th.

The senior men's team collected silver as Tom Farrell celebrated his first senior Great Britain and Northern Ireland vest in style as he finished fourth in 30:14 minutes.

And the senior women's team collected bronze, led by Louise Damen as she finished 11th.

There was also a bronze medal for the junior men, Kieran Clements running a great tactical race to finish third in 18:57 minutes.

And in the junior women's event, defending champion Emelia Gorecka had to settle for silver this time around but helped Great Britain and Northern Ireland to gold overall.

Gorecka was involved in a battle with Serbian Amela Terzic throughout but eventually had to settle for second best as she crossed the line in 13:37 minutes.

But the team finished top of the pile as Annabel Mason crossed the line in fifth, Jenny Walsh ended up eighth and Jessica Judd claimed 13th, and Gorecka was delighted to have played her part.

"Overall I'm very happy and I can't complain about getting second," she said.

"It was a tough race and I think everyone found it tough. Everyone was in the same conditions.

"I felt strong and I did exactly what I was meant to do out there. Down that last hill I had given it my all.

"[Terzic] was so strong. I just didn’t have the legs. Perhaps on a different course it would have been a different colour medal but I’m happy with the way that I ran it and I was as strong as I could have been."

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