Home News DUBLIN 2009 JUNIOR WOMEN’S FINAL: Grøvdal gets Norway’s first ever gold

DUBLIN 2009 JUNIOR WOMEN’S FINAL: Grøvdal gets Norway’s first ever gold


from A.A.I website Norway’s Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal got her country’s first ever gold medal in the history of the SPAR European Cross Country Championships when she romped to victory in the Irish capital, covering the 4039m course in 14:10.

Grøvdal, the 2008 European Athletics Rising Star of the Year Award winner after achieving an outstanding 3000m steeplechase and 5000m double triumph at the European Athletics Junior Championships this summer, took little more than a kilometre to impose her authority.

Dressed in a long sleeved running vest, tights and a head warmer, she had Russia’s Gulshat Fazlitdinova for company over the opening stages of the race as the pair moved away from the rest of the field.

However, Fazlitdinova dug deep and never slipped more than 30 metres behind Grøvdal, causing the Norwegian to keep looking over her shoulder to check on her position, and the 17-year-old hung on to take her country’s first individual medal in the category since 2002.

With Grøvdal easing up down the 400m-long finish straight, and generally looking very comfortable throughout the race, Fazlitdinova just finished two seconds behind.

Great Britain’s Kate Avery, who also got the European Athletics Junior Championships 3000m silver medal, came out of the pack in the middle stages of the race and was on her own over the final 1500m to secure the bronze medal in 14:27, finishing 100m further back.

Russia ended Britain’s four-year domination of the team title by getting back to the top of the podium they last occupied in 2001 by getting their four scorers into the top 21 women home and scoring 47 points.

Britain had to be content with the silver medals on this occasion with 51 points.

However, some British disappointment will be assuaged by the fact that Lauren Howarth, who finished third in Brussels 12 months ago, and was the leading European finisher at this year’s World Cross Country Championships, showed a good return to form after losing the entire track season due to a stress fracture and finished sixth.

Germany notched up a slightly surprising set of bronze medals, their first in the junior women’s team competition since 2003, with 73 points. They were helped by Corinna Harrer, a former German Youth champion over 400m, having a terrific run over the second half of the race and coming through to finish fourth.