Twell ready for 'home' debut at Holyrood

STEPHANIE Twell will compete on Scottish soil for the first time since switching nationality from England at the Bupa Great Edinburgh International Cross Country on Saturday.

The 20-year-old world junior 1,500 metres champion is tipped to be a genuine contender for a medal at the 2012 London Olympics, and qualifies for Scotland through her mother Isobel, who lives in Paisley.

She accepted an offer to represent Scotland last July and opened her campaign in her new national vest by winning the Gateshead International Cross Country in November. Now Twell will line up in a top-class field over six kilometres in Holyrood Park, which includes Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m gold medallist Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia and Kenya's Vivian Cheruiyot, holder of the world 5,000m crown.

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However, Twell, a three-time European junior cross-country winner is unlikely to be overawed by her opponents in what is the first IAAF permit meeting of 2010. In last year's race, won by world 10,000m champion Kenyan Linet Masai, Twell surpassed everyone's expectations when narrowly missing a podium position.

Twell will link up with fellow Britons Hayley Yelling-Higham, who came out of retirement to win a second European title last month, and world 1,500m silver medallist Lisa Dobriskey.

Dobriskey will be competing for the first time since marrying fellow British international athlete Ricky Soos a month ago.

The men's 9km race contains an awesome start list headed by Kenenisa Bekele, the Ethiopian with a record six world cross-country long course victories.

Top British middle-distance runners Andy Baddeley and Mo Farah will go head to head in the domestic 4km event.