Gorecka on the trail for her seventh medal

Gorecka on the trail for her seventh medal
European Athletics

Emelia Gorecka will hope to finish off her fourth and last year as a junior with gold at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade on Sunday.

One fact is for sure, when the roll call is announced for the junior women's race for Sunday's SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade - the favourites all know what it’s like to win gold.

None more so than Great Britain's Emelia Gorecka, the champion from 2011 who is chasing her seventh medal at this event.

But she is far from alone in savouring the delight of standing on the podium.

Of all the races in Serbia, this one could be the most competitive because of the combinations of so many European champions from the summer.

Gorecka added to her reputation and all-round ability when she won the 3000m at the European Athletics Junior Championships in Rieti in July, in a week where Jip Vastenburg, of the Netherlands, took the 5000m crown ahead of Oona Kettunen, of Finland, who in turn won the 3000m steeplechase.

In fact, Belgrade is very much a Rieti reunion for so many.

Turkey’s Emine Hatun Tuna and Russia’s Anna Petrova were silver and bronze medallists there and will bid to beat Gorecka on the terrain this time. Marusa Mismas, of Slovenia, and Germany’s Maya Rehberg also need to be added to the mix.

In Rieti, they were second and third respectively behind Kettunen in the steeplechase and 12 months ago at last year’s SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Budapest; they played a big part as Serbia’s Amela Terzic won in 13:29 from Goreka in 13:37. Rehberg ended up taking bronze in 13:43 with Mismas just behind her in fourth in 13:44.

Gorecka led Britain’s junior women to an overwhelming victory in the team event last year beating Germany and Russia.

It was a brilliant triumph from a squad that had three women in the top eight - with Annabel Mason fifth in 13:47 and Jenny Walsh eighth in 14:01.

Gorecka has four cross country golds – the individual from 2011 in Velenje and has won the team event every year she has taken part in the championships since 2010 in Albufeira.

“This will be my fourth European championship as a junior which not many people are able to do. I would like to end on a high," she declared. It seems like anything but gold will be a disappointment to the Brit.

With defending champion Terzic now promoted to the under-23 category, Serbia has a team of five looking to deliver home glory.

They are Nadja Cerovac, Dragana Jankovic, Ana Sekulic, Jagoda Zecevic and Elvedina Zornic. While Terzic is quite an act to follow, every year provides a chance for new stars to emerge.