Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Turner Makes Grade to Land Euro GB Place

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Turner Makes Grade to Land Euro GB Place

Article excerpt

Byline: Bill McGuirk

LYDIA TURNER defied all the odds to earn a place in the GB team for the European Cross-Country Championships in Belgrade in two weeks' time.

The 16-year-old Birtley athlete went into the Trials in Liverpool's Sefton Park knowing that a topsix placing would guarantee her first international call-up.

However, to earn that reward she had to face the country's leading under-20 athletes which included pre-race favourite Emelia Gorecka, the European junior 3,000m champion and last year's runner-up in the European Cross-Country Championships.

While Turner has been in superb form in her only two outings so far this winter, the Tommy Millmoor-trained athlete went into the race after being sidelined with a heavy cold in the week leading up to the trip to Merseyside.

Once the gun set the 150 competitors off on their 4.4km contest however, Turner showed no signs of distress as she strode shoulderto-shoulder with Gorecka over the first 2,000 metres.

By half-way the duo were joined by another under-20 competitor, Georgia Taylor-Brown of Sale, who finished 17th in the World Cross-Country Championships in Poland this year.

As the race entered the second half Gorecka began to stamp her authority on proceedings and started to ease away to eventually cross the line in 14min 27secs.

Taylor-Brown shook off the shackles of Turner to finish runner-up in 14:39 with the North East girl pulling out all the stops to get the better of Aldershot's Amy Griffiths in the closing stages to claim a significant third place in 14:51 and a trip to Serbia for her efforts.

With the race being the second event of the British Athletics Cross Challenge, Turner added this under-17 victory to the one she claimed in Bristol three weeks earlier placing her way out on top of the rankings with Antrim, Cardiff and the Inter-Counties in Birmingham still to come.

After receiving her award, Turner was naturally delighted to have run so well after her eventful run up to the race, saying: "I'm shaking with disbelief and haven't taken it all in yet. …

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