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Page last updated at 16:04 GMT, Sunday, 14 December 2008

Farah misses out on European gold

Mo Farah
Mo Farah in action in Belgium on Sunday

Britain's Mo Farah missed out on his second European Cross Country title when he was narrowly beaten by Ukraine's Sergei Lebid in Brussels.

Farah led a breakaway but Lebid went with him and edged away near the end to finish eight seconds ahead of the Briton in 30 minutes, 49 seconds.

Hayley Yelling, the 2004 women's champion, was a disappointing 19th in 28:45 over the 8km course.

Stephanie Twell won the junior women's title for the third time in a row.

Overall, it was a good day for British runners with a best-ever tally of four gold, five silver and three bronze medals.

Farah, 25, who won this event two years ago, looked comfortable on the muddy 10km course and was level with Lebid going into the final kilometre.

But the Ukrainian produced a burst of pace to open up a 50m lead which he maintained to complete his eighth victory in the event.

This is very special and rewarding for me

Stephanie Twell
Lebid said: "Mo Farah made it very difficult for me. I hard to worker harder than in any of my previous wins."

Farah's performance helped the British team pick up the bronze medal behind Spain and France. Frank Tickner (10th in 31:39), Michael Skinner (20th, 31:50), and Lee Merrien (22nd: 31:55) scored the other points for Britain.

In the women's race, Hattie Dean was the top British runner, finishing eighth in 28:30. Together with Louise Damon (ninth, 28:33), Laura Kenny (13th, 28:40) and Yelling, the British women collected the silver medal in the team event. Hilda Kibet of the Netherlands won the race in 27:45.

The most noteworthy achievement of the day came in the junior women's race, when British girls took the first six places. Twell (13:28) was followed home by Charlotte Purdue (13.39), Lauren Howarth (13:55), Emily Pidgeon (14:00), Emma Pallent (14:05) and Laura Park (14:08) on the 4.2km course.

606: DEBATE
Twell, 19, said: "This is a very special and rewarding victory for me. I'm so elated. I thought always we would have a chance to take the first six places."

Twell is expected to move up to the seniors next year and if she continues her progress could be a genuine medal home for the London Olympic Games in 2012.

She added: "It is a fantastic achievement and the explanation for our success is that we train hard and had a great team here. It is a testament to my coach, Mick Woods, and my training partners. This medal is not just for me, it is for all of them."

Britain also won team golds in the men's and women's under-23 races.

In the women's, Sarah Tunstall timed her challenge well over the 6km course to finish second in 21:10, but but could not close the gap on Susan Kuijken of the Netherlands, who finished eight seconds ahead.

Scot Morag MacLarty just missed out on bronze to Russian Yuliya Zarudneva in a sprint to the line. Both were given a time of 21:24. Katherine Sparke (seventh, 21:47) , Stacey Johnson (11th: 22.02), Hannah England (16th, 22:10) and Susie Hignett (37th, 22:49), comfortably beat Russia and Germany to gold in the team event.

In the men's under-23 event, run over 8km, Andy Vernon finished second in 25:04, with Ben Lindsay (fourth, 25:18), John Beattie (sixth, 25:18), and Keith Gerrard (seventh, 25:21) claiming the points.

Britain also won bronze in the junior men's team category, where David Forrester, 19, finished fifth in 18:58 over 6km.

He was backed up Ross Murray (14th, 19:19), Mitch Goose (15th 19:19) and Philip Bernsten (18th 19:22), as Britain finished behind France and Norway.



see also
Twell thrilled with Olympic place
21 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Twell wins to boost Beijing hopes
13 Jul 08 |  Athletics
GB star Twell to run at Stormont
19 Dec 07 |  Athletics
The new Paula?
14 Jun 07 |  Athletics


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