ATHLETE Alice Wright is aiming to help Great Britain to another impressive medal haul at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Sardinia.

The 22-year-old is “praying” she will reach the starting line in Chia in top condition after withdrawing from the competition in Hyères, France, 12 months ago due to injury.

Wright, a Worcester Athletic Club member, is part of a 36-strong GB squad, who head into Sunday’s annual event having topped the medals chart for the past seven years.

The University of New Mexico student will be running in the 10,000 metres for the under 23s team. “It was a difficult decision for me to pull out of last year’s race with injury,” said Wright, a former King’s School Worcester pupil.

“It was definitely for the best because the injury kept me out of competition for a few months which may have been longer had I chosen to compete.

“I am just praying this year that I can make it to the line healthy and illness-free.

“I am very honoured to have been selected to represent Great Britain again and I hope to show good fitness at the race.”

Wright is the top-ranked under 23 British female athlete for the 10,000m with a personal best of 32 minutes 36.11 seconds.

The Worcester athlete secured bronze medals in the 10,000m at the 2015 European Athletics Under 23 Championships in Estonia.

She was ninth in the under 23s race at the 2014 championships in Bulgaria.

“My season so far has been pretty good and I’ve really enjoyed most of the races,” said Wright, who is coached by David Walker when she returns to Worcester.

She won the National Collegiate Athletic Association Championships Division One Mountain Region Championships in the USA last month.

“My last race at the NCAA Championships didn’t quite go to plan. Sometimes you put yourself out there and it doesn’t work out but I always try to learn something from any failure,” she said.

“Particular season highlights include winning the Mountain West Conference Championships in Idaho and winning the Mountain Region Championships in Utah.”

Wright is a three-time All-American in cross country and guided the University of New Mexico’s Lobos team to seventh place at the NCAA Championships. She was also named the US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Mountain Region Athlete of the Year for the second time in three years.

Wright, from Abberley, said: “I will be returning to Worcester after the European Cross Country Championships and I hope to run around my favourite Worcestershire trails over the winter break.

“I will be heading back to New Mexico in late December or early January to start preparing for the indoor track season there.”