Ace Grace wins in Belgium

Grace Baker stands proudly on top of the podium after her victory at the Lotto Cross Cup in Belgium last weekend

Grace Baker stands proudly on top of the podium after her victory at the Lotto Cross Cup in Belgium last weekend

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It would appear that every time athletics ace Grace Baker pulls on an England vest she wins.

The 18-year-old from Pett was victorious on international duty at the prestigious Iris Lotto Cross Cup cross-country event in Brussels last weekend.

Baker was selected as part of a four-strong England junior women squad on the basis of a great run at the European Trials in Liverpool last month.

There she suffered disappointment after finishing one place off qualifying for the Great Britain team for the European Championships. The GB junior women team dominated that event, winning team gold.

The England call-up was a small compensation for the disappointment and the Aldershot, Farnham & District AC athlete grabbed the opportunity by beating a strong field containing some of Europe’s best young women over a muddy 4km course.

Two days before setting off for Belgium, Baker was contacted by British Athletics with a tremendous early Christmas present.

The former Rye and Bexhill College student has been called-up for the Great Britain team which will contest the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross-Country on Saturday January 10.

Baker will compete against the USA and a European select team at what is regarded as one of the world’s best annual cross-country events and attracts the cream of world talent.

The talented runner is now on vacation from her studies at Royal Holloway University in London and is training with her father Peter’s training group at Hastings Athletic Club.

As well as her international engagement in Scotland, Baker is preparing for other big races at the Sussex County Cross-Country Championships and British University Cross-Country Championships i.

The Lotto Cross Cup is part of the Lotto Cross Cup series of races and is classed as an IAAF permit meeting, making athletes’ performances eligible for qualification into the IAAF World Cross-Country Championships.