Cooke and Choong progress to men’s final at World Champs
Two of Britain’s young athletes have qualified for the men’s final at the Modern Pentathlon World Championships in Poland.
Jamie Cooke, aged 23, did it in style by finishing fifth in his semi-final in Warsaw today, while 19-year-old Joe Choong faced an anxious wait before it was confirmed he had sealed the last ‘next highest points scorer’ slot.
But there was disappointment for Sam Curry, who was 21 yesterday, and team-mate Joe Evans, who reaches the same landmark tomorrow, as they both missed out on places in Saturday's final.
Jan Bartu, Pentathlon GB Performance Director praised the determination of Choong, who is studying for a Mathematics degree at the University of Bath, in reaching the final by the slenderest of margins at only his second senior international competition.
“It’s remarkable, you’ve got to have respect for him,” said Bartu. “He showed real intensity in the way he fought and handled the pressure today.”
He also praised Cooke, Britain’s 2011 world junior champion. “I would have to say he had his best combined event ever today,” he said. “He was in a really tough group, but he worked his way through the field and ended up in the top-five. That was a really respectable result and hopefully it will give him confidence for the final on Saturday.
“We’ve had our youngest men’s team at a World Championships here and competing at this level is a good experience for them.”
Group B started in the pool, where both Cooke and Evans got off to a strong start. Cooke’s 200m freestyle time of 1:52.68 was the third fastest earning him 362 pentathlon points. Evans was just behind him in 1:55.92, the fourth fastest time and worth 353 points.
Cooke won 13 of his 31 fencing bouts, a performance that earned him 187 points and saw him drop to 15th overall. It meant he went into the run/shoot 20 seconds off the all-important eighth place that meant automatic qualification for the final.
Evans started a further 23 seconds back in 22nd place after winning 11 of his fencing contests worth 173 points.
Cooke made sure of his place in the final with a combined event time of 11:01.72, the third fastest, to finish fifth overall.
Evans’ time of 11:23.36 was the 10th best in the group, but he dropped down to 18th and missed out on the final.
Group C also started in the pool, where Choong made a terrific start on his first taste of World Championship action by setting the quickest time in the group – 1:54.37. That meant he started his campaign with 357 pentathlon points. Curry’s 2:00.67 was 10th fastest, earning him 338 points.
Choong won 14 of his 31 fencing bouts to add 194 points to his total and go into the combined event in 11th place – just three seconds off the eighth place automatic qualification spot.
Curry won 15 fencing contest, adding 201 points to his swimming total, which meant he went into the combined event in 15th, 12 seconds behind his team-mate.
Chong continued his form in the combined event with a time of 11:22.31 to finish 12th overall. That wasn’t enough for an automatic place in the final, but he secured the 12th and last place for the next highest points scorers across the three semis.
But Curry missed out. His combined event time of 11:46.85 saw him end his first World Championships campaign in 21st place.
Tomorrow (Friday) sees the GB trio of Kate French, Samantha Murray and Freyja Prentice contest the women’s individual final. They were the nominated scorers in the team competition so they will also aim to challenge for the team medals.
The British team were the highest scoring team in the heats yesterday, but the teams with all three nominated scorers in the final start from scratch again on Friday.
Pentathlon GB team for World Championships
(* scores count towards team event)
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
(* scores count towards team event)
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
Alice Fitton - 05.08.94 from Atherton, Greater Manchester - lives Bath
Samantha Murray – 25.09.89, Clitheroe, Lancashire – Bath
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