European cross country: GB top medals table

Britain's senior women celebrate gold in Slovenia
Britain's senior women dominated the field to take gold in Velenje

Great Britain finished top of the medals table at the European Cross Country Championships in Slovenia.

Britain's senior, under-23 and junior women won team golds, while the junior men took gold and the seniors and under-23s silver.

Gemma Steel led the senior women by finishing third in Velenje, with Freya Murray 13th, Elle Baker 14th, Julia Bleasdale 15th and Hattie Dean 16th.

Andy Vernon was the first GB man home in seventh, with Andrew Baddeley 25th.

The women's under-23 race was a particular highlight for Britain as Emma Pallant took gold, five seconds ahead of team-mate Naomi Taschimowitz, while Steph Twell - back in action after a serious ankle injury - was narrowly beaten to bronze in a sprint for the line by Germany's Corinna Harrer.

Commonwealth 1500m bronze medallist Twell fractured her ankle in a cross country race in February.

"I'm getting back into international competition so I'm really happy," said Twell. "My ankle didn't hurt during the race.

"I've got some more training to do over Christmas and this will stand me in good stead for next year."

Pallant, who won bronze last year, added: "It's amazing, it feels really good. I always wanted to do better this year.

"It was a tough ask but it felt great. I felt really strong throughout the race and at the end I felt the strongest I did in the whole race.

"It was so good to be back running with Steph after the year she has been through, that topped it off for me."

James Wilkinson took silver in the men's under-23 race, while Emelia Gorecka, 17, won gold in the junior women's and Richard Goodman, 18, claimed silver in the men's junior.

"I loved the course," said Gorecka.

"It was actually very quick. The others went out pretty fast but I didn't, I held back. The front two were quite a bit ahead but I tried to keep my cool.

"I know I kept looking behind me but I've been working on my sprint finish and I was really confident.

"Mick [Woods, her coach] said I could win it and I had faith in his training because it has been going so well."

European Cross Country Championships:

Senior women: Team gold (3. Gemma Steel, 13. Freya Murray, 14. Elle Baker, 15. Julia Bleasdale, 16. Hattie Dean)

Senior men: Team silver behind France (9. Andy Vernon 13. Ryan McLeod, 15. James Walsh, 22. Mark Draper, 25. Andy Baddeley, 37. Frank Tickner)

  • Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele will head the field at the Great Edinburgh XCountry in Holyrood Park on 7 January. He will be joined by Kenyan stars Asbel Kiprop and Brimin Kipruto for the 3km race, which will be covered by the BBC. "I feel very comfortable starting my important Olympic year by competing in Edinburgh," said Bekele.