Murray and Choong defend GB Open titles

29th June 2014

Samantha Murray and Joe Choong both successfully defended their titles at the GB Open Modern Pentathlon Championships in Solihull today (Sunday). 
Murray, the London 2012 Olympic silver medallist, came home first in the women’s competition to retain both the GB Open title and the British Championship crown.
Choong, just turned 19, also retained his GB Open title and won the British Championship title after winning the junior title last time around.
The GB Open was organised by Pentathlon GB, the national governing body for the Olympic sport of modern pentathlon, and the event saw British, Hungarian and Irish pentathletes in action at the Tudor Grange Leisure Centre.
Women’s competition 
In-form Alice Fitton topped the leaderboard in the women’s competition after the 200m freestyle swim. Fresh from winning individual silver at the European Junior Championships a week ago, she clocked a time of 2:05.28 for 324 pentathlon points, giving her an eight-point lead over London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Samantha Murray, with d 2:08.13. Kelcey Pillage was third. 
Murray was the best of the Brits after the fencing, but she trailed Hungary’s Tamara Alekszejev by six points overall. Murray won 24 of her 36 fencing bouts. Mhari Spence climbed from fifth to third with 26 fencing victories. 
Three athletes – Britain’s Freyja Prentice and Kate French, and Hungary’s Kamilla Reti, produced flawless rides to land the full 300 points at Solihull Riding Club. But Alekszejev still led, now from Fitton, with Murray third. 
Alekszejev went into the run/shoot with a 23-second lead over Fitton, with Murray starting a further three seconds back and 2012 world champion Mhairi Spence fourth,11 seconds behind her fellow London 2012 Olympian. 
But Murray’s run/shoot time of 12:47.44, the fifth fastest of the day, saw her home nine seconds clear of Alekszejev. Fitton finished third overall with Francesca Summers fourth. Eilidh Prise’s run/shoot time of 12:30.69 was the quickest of the day. Murray, Fitton and Spence took team gold.
Gold: Samantha Murray (Bath) – 1372 points
Silver: Tamara Alekszejev (Hungary) – 1363 points
Bronze: Alice Fitton (Bath) – 1360 points
Team results
Gold:  Bath (Samantha Murray, Alice Fitton & Mhairi Spence) – 4075 points
Silver: Scottish Saltires (Eilidh Prise, Jo Muir & Freyja Prentice) – 3949 points
Bronze: Hungary MPA (Tamara Alekszejev, Kamilla Reti & Emese Slett) – 3822 points
Men’s competition 
Joe Evans pipped Jamie Cooke in the 200m freestyle swim at the start of the men’s competition. His time of 1:54.75 was 0.09 seconds faster than Cooke’s, but both were worth 356 pentathlon points. Joe Choong was just behind them in third in 1:55.47, worth 354 points. 
Choong produced a terrific performance on the fencing piste to top the leaderboard after two disciplines. He won 25 of his 32 bouts to take his points total to 625. His performance was only bettered by Hungary’s Krisztian Klis, whose 26 victories saw him move to second overall on 607 points. Evans won 17 bouts, dropping to third.
Tom Toolis was the only British athlete to go clear in the allowed time in the ride, a performance that saw him climb to third going into the run shoot behind leader Choong and second place Evans. Choong had a healthy 47-second lead over Evans, with Toolis starting a further 10 seconds back. 
The positions remained unchanged at the end of the run/shoot, with Choong taking gold, from Evans and Toolis. As all three featured in the Bath A men’s team, they also took team gold. 
Gold: Joe Choong – 1484 points
Silver: Joe Evans – 1468 points
Bronze: Tom Toolis – 1446 points 
Gold: Bath A (Joe Choong, Joe Evans & Tom Toolis) – 4398 points
Silver: Hungary MPA (Gergely Demeter, Bence Harangozo & Szabolcs Biro) – 4235 points
Bronze: Bath B (Sam Curry, Jamie Cooke & James Myatt) – 4139 points