Saunders leads GB junior men to team gold, Spain's Merzougui lands individual title (12/12/10)

Copyright notice: This text was originally published at the Athletics Weekly website on 12/12/10 (, it is maintained here purely for achive purposes

Ryan Saunders finishes top Brit in Albufeira while former Moroccan wins gold for Spain

Mark Shearman
The under-20 men's race at the European Cross Country Championships in Albufeira was a much closer affair than the junior women's race, and after a fast finish at the end, Spain's Abdelaziz Merzougui came out on top.

Serbia, having won the silver medal in the junior women's race, landed another silver medal in the junior men's race, thanks to Nemanja Cerovac. Portugal's Rui Pinto pleased the home crowd by taking the bronze medal, while pre-race favourite Sondre Nordstad Moen of Norway had to settle for fifth place.

Britain's junior men never really challenged for the medals, but managed to place five team members in the top 23 places, securing the team gold medal.

John McDonnell and Jonny Hay had been expected to do well for Great Britain, but it was Ryan Saunders - training partner to junior women's medallists Charlotte Purdue and Emelia Gorecka - who performed best, placing 10th.

Hay finished 14th and McDonnell was 16th. Andrew Combs and Ben Connor were 22nd and 23rd, with Robbie Farnham-Rose rounding out the team in 46th place.

It is the second year running that Great Britain has won the junior men's team title at the European Cross Country Championships.

Ryan Saunders © Mark Shearman