European Cross Country Champion Steel selected in 36 strong team

Gemma Steel and Kate Avery

British Athletics’ today announced the 36-strong team heading to the European Cross Country Championships including reigning champion Gemma Steel (handicap -2.4) who will defend her senior women’s title in Hyères, France on Sunday 13 December.

Steel out sprinted Kate Avery (handicap -1.6) to the gold medal in Samokov last year and after a similar battle at the trials in Liverpool last weekend, both will be in the hunt for European glory in under two weeks’ time. Steel, a three-time medallist at these championships, will once again be one of the favourites for the title as she joins the British team who have topped the medal table at the last 12 editions of the event.

Ross Millington (handicap -5.5) leads the senior men’s team in France after a commanding performance at the trials. He was fifth in Bulgaria last December so will be hoping for another strong showing against the best in Europe later this month.

After a breakthrough 2015 on the track, Laura Muir (handicap -1.9) has been selected for the U23 team. The Scot who went to second in the UK all-time standings over 1500m this year, will switch her attention to the cross country event, four years after she made her international debut at the championships in Velenje.

Jonathan Davies (handicap -5.6) spearheads the men’s U23 sextet after an impressive winter season so far. The Reading athlete won the recent Milton Keynes Cross Challenge and was the first U23 finisher on Merseyside.

After taking victory in the opening two Cross Challenge fixtures, Bobby Clay (handicap -0.9) has earned her place in the junior women’s team. After injury ended her chances of a cross country season in 2014, the Invicta East Kent athlete will be raring to go after a season of improvement which saw her win European Junior 1500m gold on the track.

Ben Dijkstra (handicap -3.8) joins eight debutants in the British Athletics’ squad, after a hard-fought win on the muddy course at Sefton Park in the junior men’s race.

Spencer Duval, the Team Leader said: “After the successes in Samokov last year (nine medals including four gold), we have selected a team which will look to continue Britain’s fine form at the European Cross Country Championships.

“There have been a number of encouraging performances so far this season and I’m confident that the team will equip themselves well against the best in Europe.”


The British Athletics’ team for the European Cross Country Championships in Hyères, France on Sunday 13 December 2015:

Senior men

Dewi Griffiths (handicap -5.8)

Jonny Hay (handicap -4.1)

Adam Hickey (handicap -5.5)

Tom Lancashire (handicap -5.9)

Ross Millington (handicap -5.5)

Jonathan Taylor (handicap -5.5)


Senior women

Kate Avery (handicap -1.6)

Lauren Howarth (handicap -0.5)

Sonia Samuels (handicap -0.8)

Gemma Steel (handicap -2.4)

Steph Twell (handicap -1.7)

Elle Vernon (handicap -0.8)


U23 men

Jacob Allen (handicap -5.0)

Jonathan Davies (handicap -5.6)

Richard Goodman (handicap -4.5)

Henry Pearce (handicap -4.0)

Marc Scott (handicap -4.5)

Luke Traynor (handicap -3.8)


U23 women

Beth Hawling (handicap 1.6)

Laura Muir (handicap -1.9)

Jenny Nesbitt (handicap -0.3)

Madeleine Murray (handicap -0.9)

Rebecca Murray (handicap 0.1)

Alice Wright (David Walker)


Junior men

Ben Dijkstra (handicap -3.9)

Oliver Fox (handicap -3.3)

Mahamed Mahamed (handicap -3.7)

Chris Olley (handicap -3.9)

Joe Steward (handicap -3.1)

Alex Yee (handicap -4.4)


Junior women

Grace Baker (handicap 1.4)

Bobby Clay (handicap -0.9)

Amy Griffiths (handicap -0.1)

Harriet Knowles-Jones (handicap -0.5)

Sabrina Sinha (handicap 1.4)

Mari Smith (handicap 1.3)