British quartet progress to European Championships final
All four British women have qualified safely for Saturday’s Modern Pentathlon European Championships final in Székesfehérvár, Hungary.
London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Samantha Murray and world number six Kate French qualified comfortably from group A, finishing in second and third places respectively today (Thursday).
Mhairi Spence, Britain’s 2012 world champion, and world number 19 Freyja Prentice had to work harder in the run/shoot in group B, but came home in eighth and 12th places to ensure they join Murray and French in the final.
The points scored by French, Murray and Spence on Saturday will count towards Great Britain’s result in the team competition, where Britain are aiming to retain the title they won last year.
Jan Bartu, Pentathlon GB Performance Director, said: “All four are through to the final. Samantha and Kate looked comfortable in their group, but Mhairi and Freyja had to work harder in their combined event today.
“We can move on positively and regroup for the final now, where we will also be aiming to fight against the other teams to defend the European team title.”
Athletes knew they had to secure a top-12 place in each of the two groups to automatically progress to the final, where they would be joined by the next 12 highest points scorers from the two groups.
Group A started in the fencing hall, where French was joint second with 15 wins from 22 contests and Murray joint 11th with 12 wins.
The two Brits in group A shared third place after the swim. Murray clocked the second fastest 200m freestyle swim time, 2:11.43, while French’s 2:20.33 was 11th quickest. They both started 10 seconds behind Elodie Clouvel of France, who led the field, with Ukraine’s Anastasia Spas second.
Clouvel held on to the lead in the run/shoot, but Murray and French were both able to comfortably qualify for the final, coming home in second and third places respectively. Murray clocked 13:16.26 with French completing the run/shoot in 13:17.24.
Group B started in the pool, where Spence came fourth with a 200m freestyle time of 2:18.13 and Prentice was 13th in 2:23.97.
Prentice won 11 of her 22 fencing bouts, enough to see her climb a place to 12th going into the run/shoot. Spence won seven of her contests, putting her 17th overall.
In the run/shoot, Spence worked her way up through the field to finish in eighth overall with a time of 12:51.83, the fastest in group B.
Prentice secured the final automatic spot from group B with a run/shoot time of 13:12.80m the seventh fastest, to finish 12th overall.
Germany’s Beijing 2008 Olympic gold medallist Lena Schoneborn coasted home in first.
Tomorrow the men get the first taste of action at the European Championships. Joe Choong, Jamie Cooke, Joe Evans and Nick Woodbridge fly the flag for Great Britain.
The European Championships start on Thursday 10 July and running through to Tuesday 15 July.
The 2015 European Championships will take place at the University of Bath from 17 to 23 August and will be the first opportunity for European athletes to achieve the Olympic qualifying standard for the Rio 2016 Games.
British team for 2014 European Championships
Kate French – 11.02.91, from: Meopham, Gravesend – lives: Bath
Mhairi Spence – 31.08.85, Farr, near Inverness – Bath
Freyja Prentice – 20.05.90, – Inverurie near Aberdeen - Bath
Samantha Murray – 25.09.89, Clitheroe, Lancashire – Bath
Joe Choong – 23.05.95, Orpington - Bath
Jamie Cooke - 03.03.91, Cheltenham – Bath
Joe Evans - 05.09.93, Whitchurch, Shropshire – Bath
Nick Woodbridge – 01.07.86, Telford, Shropshire - Bath
Alice Fitton - 05.08.94 from Atherton, Greater Manchester - lives Bath
Jo Muir - 30.08.94, Dumfries - Bath
Sam Curry - 03.09.93, Salfords, Surrey - Bath
Tom Toolis – 23.12.92, Hornchurch, North East London - Bath
Mixed team relay *
*may be subject to change
2014 European Championships schedule
Thursday 10 July: women’s heats
Friday 11 July: men’s heats
Saturday 12 July: women’s final (incl team competition)
Sunday 13 July: men’s final (incl team competition)
Monday 14 July: mixed relay
Tuesday 15 July: men’s & women’s team relays