Mari Smith’s coach paid her a glowing tribute after the impressive medal-winning start to her Great Britain cross country career.
After Mari won a team silver at the European Junior Cross Country Championships and finishing in a highly creditable 22nd in the individual standings, Bill Winter was effusive in his praise for the teenager.
“Her performance was quite stunning,” said Bill.
“Considering she was a novice at this level, her run was full of composure, commitment and class.
“Some youngsters when they appear in the international arena let nerves compromise their performance.
“To her immense credit, this did not happen to Mari.”
He said Mari had made a major breakthrough in the sport with her performance at the high profile event in France at the weekend.
Bill said: “This was truly a wonderous performance.
“The scale of her achievement is made more impressive by the fact she is basically an 800 metre runner but able to compete with Europe’s best cross country junior women.”
Mari had hoped to compete again for the GB juniors in Edinburgh in the new year but she will be deemed too old by a month because that event is under IAAF rules.
Bill plans to discuss a racing schedule with Mari, which is likely to include the British Senior Indoor Championships and more top cross country events.
“She has the talent to compete at the highest level,” added Bill.