OCWK Athletes Selected For European Cross Country
28 November, 2012
Two members of the Aviva ‘On Camp with Kelly’ mentoring and education programme created by Dame Kelly Holmes before the 2004 Olympic Games, Jess Coulson (Stockport) and Jen Walsh (Spenborough) are delighted to have earned their selection for the Aviva GB & NI Team for the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Sunday 9 December.
For Jen Walsh it is third time lucky, after missing out on qualifying for the European Cross Country over the past two years, whilst Jess Coulson is really happy to earn another long awaited GB & NI team vest after her last appearance at the European Cross Country Championships in 2006, when she was member of the Junior women’s team that struck Gold.
Jen has taken a huge confidence boost from her performance at the European Cross Country Trials in Liverpool, where she finished runner up to defending European Junior Cross Country Champion Emelia Gorecka. She commented:
“My main aim for the winter was just making the team for the European Cross Country really, but following the trials, I know I am in great shape to get so close to Emelia, maybe I can challenge for top 5 at the Europeans.
“Training has been going really well and I have enjoyed a great year. It is a year now since I joined Aviva ‘On Camp with Kelly’ and I have come one so much I have to give credit to the support I have received on the programme. I had a great start to my track season, running in the 1500m at the BUCS Championships with the support of Kelly trackside, in the Olympic stadium.
“I will take forwards the experience of the World Junior Championships this summer, which was definitely the highlight of my career so far, with a personal best in the final.”
The Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland under-23 women are targeting the defence of an impressive team title in Slovenia 2011 headed by Jess Coulson, who has shown fantastic recent form, finishing as first European at the IX Cross de Atapuerca in Burgos, Spain a couple of weeks ago.
On hearing of confirmation of her selection, Jess who is studying for a Masters degree part-time at Manchester Metropolitan University said:
“I was targeting a top six place to secure my place in the team at the Trials, I knew it would be muddy and listened to the advice of my coach Mick Woods and kept in control in the early stages of the race. It was great to hear the crowds cheering us on, as I pulled clear in the final stages.
“I am really enjoying my running at the moment, and I am thankful for the support of Aviva ‘On Camp with Kelly’ over the past few years. I have attended as many camps and Get-Togethers as I can, in particular the extra medical support provided has been really important to me. It seems a long time since my last European Cross, so I can’t wait to compete now.”
Amongst the 36-strong GB & NI team is Simon Horsfield (Sale Harriers Manchester) selected in the Under 23 Men’s team who has received support from Aviva ‘On Camp with Kelly’. The following ‘athletes that attended ‘Future Stars with Kelly’ education days have also been selected: Hannah Alderson (Yate), William Paulson (Stroud AC), Rhona Auckland (Banchory & Stonehaven), Emelia Gorecka (AFD) and Jessica Judd (Chelmsford).