Steel silver in Belgrade

Gemma Steel won silver at the European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade as Great Britain topped the medal table with nine medals.

Steel held off Portugal's Dulce Felix and Ireland's Fionnuala Britton to clinch second place in the senior women's race over eight kilometres behind France's Sophie Duarte.

The 28-year-old Charnwood athlete was also able to celebrate gold in the team competition, along with Julia Bleasdale (seventh), Lauren Howarth (11th), Steph Twell (15th), Katie Brough (27th) and Lauren Deadman (43rd).

Steel said: "I was chuffed with beating Dulce in a sprint finish.

"It was nice to beat Fionnuala 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."

In the senior men's race Andy Vernon snatched a bronze medal in a thrilling finish, edging out Belgium's Jeroen D'Hoedt by less than a second over 10km.

His performance helped the men's team also win bronze.

Vernon said: "The Belgian came past me quite quickly with about 150m but I sprinted as hard as I could and just got there."

Emelia Gorecka won individual gold in the under-20 women's race over 4km, with Britain also taking the team title.

Britain took team gold in the under-23 men's and women's races, Charlotte Purdue winning bronze in the individual.

British Athletics performance Director Neil Black said: "There was some incredible performances today. Team medals in lots of different categories as well as outstanding individual performances - Emelia Gorecka winning in her last year as an under 20 and Andy Vernon storming down the home straight to a photo finish and getting third place. There were absolutely brilliant performances all round.

"Cross country is re-establishing itself as the background to endurance running. We are looking forward now to converting cross country to the track. We are really putting a huge effort into that conversion."