The Great Britain and Northern Ireland squad for the 2023 World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia (18 February) has been selected. Selection was based on the aims of the policy which were capability of team medal success at the Championship; supporting senior athlete preparation for future global track success; and providing opportunities for developing junior athletes with the potential for future success at Cross Country championships.
Several eligible athletes were not available for selection due to not expressing an interest and prioritising other race plans. However, GB & NI will have representation across all races within the Championships.
Representing the GB & NI senior women, the European U23 silver medallist Megan Keith (coach: Ross Cairns, club: Inverness) makes the step up in age group as she is selected for the team. The Scottish athlete won at the British Athletics Cross Challenge event in Perth recently as she continued her strong Autumn and Winter race season.
She will be joined by Abbie Donnelly (Rob Lewis, Lincoln Wellington) who finished inside the top 12 in the senior race at the European Cross Country Championships in December, while two further athletes with experience in GB & NI cross country teams, Amelia Quirk (Mick Woods, Bracknell) and Poppy Tank (Alastair and Amy Cragg, City of Plymouth), complete the senior women’s squad.
With several eligible athletes not available for selection, Zakariya Mahamed (Idris Hamud, Southampton) is the sole representative in the senior men’s team. The Southampton athlete finished second behind Charles Hicks in the U23 race at the Euro Cross last year, and earns his first senior cap.
For the first time at the Championships, GB & NI will be represented by a team competing in the 4 x 2km mixed relay race. Olympic 800m finalist Alex Bell (Andrew Henderson) has been selected as part of the quartet and brings with her superb cross country relay pedigree.
The Pudsey and Bramley athlete anchored the British team to the Gold medal at the European Cross Country Championships in 2021. Joining her is Alexandra Millard (Bill Foster, Invicta East Kent) who won an individual bronze medal in the U23 race at the recent European Cross in Turin. The duo will be joined by Callum Elson (Cambridge and Coleridge) and Joe Wigfield (Craig Winrow, Wirral).
Finally, in the U20 races, eight athletes have been selected to take on the best in the world in the age group. Sam Mills (Exeter) and Luke Birdseye (Shireen Higgins, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow), fourth and fifth in the U20 race at the Euro Cross, lead the way in the men’s race, with Edward Bird (Mark Pauley, Poole AC) and Jacob Deacon (Katie Hewison, Chorley), also members of the gold-medal winning team in Turin, completing a strong line-up.
World Mountain Running Championships silver medallist, Rebecca Flaherty (Karen Glerum, Bingley) will join Megan Harris (Hayley Hemmings, Chelmsford). They will be joined by two athletes making their GB & NI debuts, Hannah Ryding (Giffnock North) and Zoe Gilbody (John Skevington, Wreake and Soar Valley).
Steve Vernon, World Class Programme Endurance Performance Manager at UK Athletics said: “We are pleased to be taking this team to the World Athletics Cross Country Championships later this month.
“The event is a prestigious one in the athletics calendar, so we are delighted to have strong representation in every discipline in Australia. The World Cross Country Championships is a stepping-stone towards success at future global track and field championships, and that is in line with the overarching Endurance strategy for UK Athletics.
“This will also be a fantastic development opportunity for many athletes, and important as we build towards future major Cross Country Championships, including the Worlds in Croatia next year. Bathurst will provide great experience to all those selected, and we look forward to seeing how they perform on the global stage.”
The Great Britain and Northern Ireland team for the World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia on Saturday 18 February.
Senior Women: Abbie Donnelly (Rob Lewis, Lincoln Wellington), Megan Keith (Ross Cairns, Inverness), Amelia Quirk (Mick Woods, Bracknell) and Poppy Tank (Alastair and Amy Cragg, City of Plymouth).
Senior Men: Zakariya Mahamed (Idris Hamud, Southampton).
Senior Mixed Relay: Alex Bell (Andrew Henderson, Pudsey and Bramley), Callum Elson (Cambridge and Coleridge), Alexandra Millard (Bill Foster, Invicta East Kent) and Joe Wigfield (Craig Winrow, Wirral).
U20 Women: Rebecca Flaherty (Karen Glerum, Bingley), Zoe Gilbody (John Skevington, Wreake and Soar Valley), Megan Harris (Hayley Hemmings, Chelmsford) and Hannah Ryding (Giffnock North).
U20 Men: Edward Bird (Mark Pauley, Poole AC), Luke Birdseye (Shireen Higgins, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow), Jacob Deacon (Katie Hewison, Chorley) and Sam Mills (Exeter)
Team Staff: Team Leader - Eamonn Martin
Team Coach: Andrew Henderson
Team Manager: Laura Burke
Medical: Sam Harkin (Team Doctor); Lachlan Bromley (Physiotherapist).