Britain's pentathletes in good shape for World Championships

30th August 2014

Britain’s modern pentathletes get their 2014 World Championships campaign underway in Warsaw on Monday (1 September).
The GB team won two medals last year in Chinese Taipei – a gold in the women’s team event and an individual silver courtesy of Nick Woodbridge, who misses this year’s competition through injury.
The 10-strong British team spent two weeks training at altitude at Font Romeu in the French Pyrenees before returning to the Pentathlon GB National Training Centre at the University of Bath to fine-tune their preparations for the World Championships.
The women’s relay pairing of Samantha Murray and Alice Fitton will be first in action on Monday (1 September). 
Murray, the London 2012 Olympic silver medallist, hopes it will be the first of three competitions for her in five days, with the women’s individual qualifiers following on Wednesday and the final on Friday.
“It’s going to be a hard week, but I’m looking forward to it,” she said. “With three competitions in five days it will be demanding and draining, but hopefully exciting and rewarding. 
“I’m in good shape and I’ve done everything I can do up to now,” she said. 
Tuesday (2 September) sees Britain's 2011 world junior champion Jamie Cooke partner Tom Toolis for the Pentathlon GB team in the men’s relay. Toolis won bronze in the men’s relay with Sam Curry at last month’s European Championships in Hungary.
Wednesday (3 September) sees Kate French, Samantha Murray, Freyja Prentice and Mhairi Spence contest the women’s individual qualifiers, aiming for places in Friday’s final. Three of their scores will count towards the team competition, an event in which French, Murray and Spence won gold last year.
Two years ago Spence became only the third British woman pentathlete to win the individual World Championship title when she took gold in Rome. 
She has been sidelined for most of this season with an injury but is looking forward to the World Championships.
“I haven’t competed much this year, but I feel in good shape,” she said. 
A young British men’s quartet of Joe Choong, Jamie Cooke, Sam Curry and Joe Evans get their individual campaigns underway on Thursday (4 September) aiming for spots in Saturday’s final. Three of them will be nominated for their scores to count towards the team competition.
It’s a young team – they will arrive in Warsaw with an average age of just under 21. Curry and Evans will both celebrate their 21st birthdays during the championships – Curry on Wednesday 3 September and Evans on Friday 5 September. 
Jan Bartu, Pentathlon GB Performance Director, said: “It’s the youngest men’s team we have ever had. Jamie is the oldest at 23. It’s going to be interesting to see them compete.
“It’s a good transition and part of the bigger picture for us,” he added. “It’s an important part of our preparations for the Games for our young athletes to experience the World Championships.”
It's only Joe Choong's second senior competition after competing at last month’s European Championships. “I feel quite good and I did the European Championships so I know what to expect,” he said “It’s an opportunity and an experience for me.” 
Evans, who competes in his second successive World Championships, said: “I didn’t make the final last year, but I’m hoping to this time. Once I’m in the final I’ll push as hard as I can. I’m feeling in good form.”
Evans is due to compete alongside Kate French in the final competition of the championships, the mixed relay, on Sunday 7 September, although that line-up may be subject to change. 
The British athletes will begin their journey to qualify for the Rio Olympic Games in December with the first of three national ranking competitions, taking place at the University of Bath. 
The national ranking competitions will help determine selections for major competitions on the 2015 international calendar, when the first qualification places are up for grabs. 
They include the 2015 European Championships at the University of Bath from 17 to 23 August, when the top-eight men and women will achieve the Olympic qualifying standard for Rio.  
Pentathlon GB team for World Championships
(changes in italics)
Women’s individual 
(three scorers to be nominated towards team event score)
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
Men’s individual 
(three scorers to be nominated towards team event score)
Joe Choong – 23.05.95, Orpington - Bath
Jamie Cooke - 03.03.91, Cheltenham – Bath
Sam Curry - 03.09.93, Salfords, Surrey - Bath
Joe Evans - 05.09.93,  Whitchurch, Shropshire – Bath
Women’s relay
Alice Fitton  - 05.08.94 from Atherton, Greater Manchester - lives Bath
Samantha Murray – 25.09.89, Clitheroe, Lancashire – Bath
Men’s relay
Jamie Cooke - 03.03.91, Cheltenham – Bath
Tom Toolis – 23.12.92, Hornchurch, North East London - Bath
Mixed relay (tbc)
Joe Evans - 05.09.93, Whitchurch, Shropshire – Bath
Kate French – 11.02.91, from: Meopham, Gravesend – lives: Bath
World Championships schedule
Monday 1 September: women’s relay
Tuesday 2 September: men’s relay
Wednesday 3 September: women’s semi-finals
Thursday 4 September: men’s semi-finals
Friday 5 September: women’s final (including team event)
Saturday 6 September: men’s final (including team event)
Sunday 7 September: mixed relay