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Cross Country Stars Gemma Steel and Emelia Gorecka for IAAF Northern Ireland International

02 January 2019

Cross Country Stars Gemma Steel and Emelia Gorecka for IAAF Northern Ireland International

GB International Cross Country stars Emelia Gorecka and former European Champion Gemma Steel are the latest major names to be announced for the IAAF Northern Ireland International Cross Country on 19th January 2019 at the Billy Neill Centre of Excellence, Dundonald. The event will play host to the Home Countries and the Celtic Games Cross Country Championships.

Extensive preparations have been completed for the event at the Lisburn and Castlereagh Council’s Billy Neill Playing Fields where the well-drained conditions should ensure a fast 8k Women's event.

24 year old Emelia Gorecka made a major effort to win the Edinburgh International Cross a year ago but just missed the top spot by 2 secs, to triple European Cross champion Yasmin Cann of Turkey. Emelia's renowned track speed has made her a feared competitor in the closing stages of cross country races.

She showed her prowess at an early stage in her career as a 16 year old in 2010 winning a bronze medal in the European Cross Junior Championships. Emelia then proceeded in this age group to achieve unprecedented success with 2 gold medals in 2011 and 2013 and a silver in 2012 which was only 2 secs behind the winner Terzic of Serbia.

Former National Cross Champion Gorecka has had her share of injuries over the years, but will be hoping to make an impact in her first cross country outing of 2019 in Northern Ireland. She previously competed here two years ago with a PB time in the Armagh 3k.

Her seasoned competitor, Gemma Steel, is no stranger to International Cross Country as she competed at the previous course in Antrim where she achieved 3 top six finishes. The prolific racer was 5th to Charlotte Purdue in 2011 and came closest to victory the following year when she was 7 secs behind the legendary Fionnuala McCormack.

In the Euro Champs in Belgrade in 2013 she grabbed silver behind Sophie Durate of France. Steel then achieved her crowning glory the following year in Samokov when she defied the muddy and icy conditions to just snatch the gold medal in the same time as GB team mate Kate Avery. Gemma retained good 10k road race form last summer with wins in Glasgow and Gateshead plus a 3rd place in Dublin.

Both Gemma Steel and Emelia Gorecka will be pressed at Dundonald to stay with the current World’s fastest 10,000 metres runner Pauline Kamulu and World Junior Cross Country champion Hawi Feysa.

You can find out more information on the event here.