Darko Bandic/AP/Press Association Images Britton finished fourth in the same event last year.
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Ireland's Britton takes gold at European Cross Country Championships
The runner says the victory “makes up” for her heartbreaking fourth place finish in the same event last year.

IRISH ATHLETE FIONNUALA Britton has secured the gold medal at the 18th SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Velenje, Slovenia.

She is only the second ever Irish athlete to win the gold medal after Catherina McKiernan, who won the event in 1994.

Britton established her lead early on and finished ahead of Portugal’s Felix, who took second place and Britain’s Gemma Steel, who came third.

Speaking in the aftermath of her success, Britton told Will Downing that the win “makes up for last year,” referring to when she came agonisingly close to winning a medal, only to lose out following a photo finish. She added:

“I knew what I had to do today, and I hoped that what I had to do was going to be enough and it was.

“I knew my strength was going to be in the distance and I knew some other girls would be the same but I knew that if I sat around and waited, anything could happen, so the more I was out in front, the more I was determined that I was going to win it.”

In the men’s race, Joe Sweeney also put in a commendable performance, finishing in fifth place, with the Irish team coming sixth overall, in a race that was won by Atelaw Bekele of Belgium.

Meanwhile, in the U23 event, Sarah Louise Treacy came 18th in the women’s race, while Michael Mulhare finished 31st in the men’s race.

You can listen to the full interview here>

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