Rhona wins GB gold in Budapest

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Torphins athlete Rhona Auckland was delighted after winning a team gold medal on her Great Britain international debut at the European cross-country championships in Budapest on Sunday.

The 19-year-old Bancory Stonehaven AC runner finished 23rd, sixth Briton, in the under-20 women’s race held in sub-zero conditions over a snowy course in the grounds of Skansen open air museum on the outskirts of the Hungarian capital.

Auckland’s performance was all the more impressive given the travel problems she endured en route to Hungary on Friday.

She eventually joined up with her team-mates on Saturday after flight problems in Edinburgh and Glasgow as well as the closure of Budapest Airport due to a fire.

Rhona told the Piper: “It was a fantastic experience to win the team medal.

“We had a bit of trouble on parts of the trip but I was just so excited to get to represent Team GB.”

Rhona, who is studying in Edinburgh, will have a short break over the festive period before preparing for the Bupa Great Cross Country race in her adopted city next month.

She said: “I’ve got my next big race coming up in Edinburgh in January and then hopefully compete in the nationals so plenty of cross-country still coming up!”

The British squad packed well to secure the team award for the seventh time in eight years, although defending champion Emelia Gorecka had to settle for individual silver as she was pipped by Serbia’s Amela Terzic.

Terzic, who was bronze medallist last year and took 1500metres silver at this year’s world junior track and field championships, completed the 4km course in 13min 29sec.

Gorecka was eight seconds behind while Annabel Mason (fifth), Jennifer Walsh (eighth), Jessica Judd (13th), Alex Clay (19th) and Auckland (23rd) were the other members of the British squad which defeated Germany and Russia to lift the title.

It was a great day for the British squad as every athlete came away with a medal from the programme of six races.