European Cross Country: Gemma Steel stars in women's team victory

GB women dominate Euro cross county

Gemma Steel won the individual silver medal as Great Britain's women clinched team gold at Sunday's European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade.

The 28-year-old finished four seconds behind France's Sophie Duarte to improve on her bronze medal in 2011.

Andy Vernon clinched an individual bronze to help the men's team win overall bronze by just six points.

The women's under-23 and junior teams also won gold as Britain topped the medals table with nine in total.

Emelia Gorecka, 19, won individual gold in the last race of her junior career, and said: "It was nice to sign it off and it was never going to be easy.

"I could have never predicted the top 10 because there are so many different girls."

Steel's gritty performance came at the end of an impressive year for the Charnwood Athletic Club runner, during which she became only the ninth UK woman to run 10km in under 32 minutes.

She ran Sunday's 8km course in 26 minutes 39 seconds, holding off Dulce Felix of Portugal in the battle for silver.

"I was chuffed with beating Dulce in a sprint finish," Steel told British Athletics.external-link

"It was nice to beat Fionnuala (Britton) who has been a big rival over the years. It's just a shame I got a bit boxed in at the start but I couldn't do anything about that as I set off as fast as I could.

"It would have been nice to win today but I couldn't really do anything once she (Duarte) opened the gap up.

Paula Radcliffe, who won individual gold medals at the European Cross Country Championships in 1998 and 2003, as well as a team gold in 2003, was impressed with Steel's performance.

"Gemma is very, very tough and she has really dug deep," Radcliffe told BBC Sport.

"Because of her running style, she doesn't look quick but when she gets going she's a very tough competitor."

Ireland's Fionnuala Britton had been hoping for a third successive gold but