Britain’s Mhairi Spence today (Sunday) won the bronze medal in a thrilling climax to the Medway modern pentathlon World Cup.
It was the 24-year-old’s first World Cup medal and the first individual World Cup medal won by a Briton since the introduction of the new climax to the modern pentathlon, the combined run/shoot, at the start of last season.
And in a terrific day for the British team – in which a record eight British athletes had qualified for the final from Friday’s semis – 20-year-old Katy Burke finished fourth to achieve her best World Cup placing yet, with University of Bath French and Politics student Samantha Murray and Biology student Freyja Prentice both securing top-10 finishes in seventh and ninth respectively.
Heather Fell finished 13th, while University of Bath Coach Education and Sports Development graduate Katy Livingston finished 15th. University of Bath Sports Performance students Lydia Rosling and Kate French came 19th and 28th respectively.
Spence, a Coach Education and Sports Development graduate from the University of Bath, who trains at the Pentathlon GB high performance centre at the University, started the day by winning the fencing discipline. She went into the run/shoot in the lead after a strong performance in the riding arena, took third behind gold medallist Amelie Caze (FRA), the 2007 and 2008 world champion and reigning European champion, and Lithuania’s world number two Donata Rimsaite, who took silver.
Spence said: “I’m really pleased. It’s been amazing. I’ve been training well and I knew I was in really good shape. I was aiming for the top-six, I just wanted to have a decent competition, so to come out on the podium is a bit more than I expected.
“I’ve been working hard on my fencing and it went really well today. I was really focussed and having a good start really built my confidence for the rest of the day.
“I felt like my legs were going all over the place at the end, but the home crowd carried me over the line.”
Jan Bartu, Pentathlon GB’s performance director, said: “Mhairi’s third place is fantastic for her. She has struggled a bit with the new format and she is just getting there now. We’ve really seen some of our junior athletes coming through today.
“This wouldn’t have been possible without the fantastic support we’ve had from UK Sport and Lottery funding,” he added.
University of Bath Sports Performance student Burke, whose fourth place finish improved on her previous best sixth place finish in Cairo last month, said: “This is one of the toughest World Cups, so I really can’t believe it. I was so nervous this morning, much more nervous than I’ve been for ages. All the training has paid off today.”
Nineteen-year-old Prentice produced the third fastest run/shoot of the day, clocking a time of 12:20.53 to climb from 20th to ninth and ensure she continued her impressive record of finishing in the top-10 in all four of her World Cups to date.
“I managed to pick up a few places on the run/shoot and finish in the top-10 again, so I’m happy,” she said.
Eighteen-year-old Kate French, who originally comes from Kent, finished 28th overall at her first World Cup. “My aim was to get into the final and I was really pleased to have done that. I had so much encouragement from the crowd today,” said the University of Bath Sports Performance student.
Medway World Cup results
Gold: Amelie Caze (FRA) – 5312 points
Silver: Donata Rimsaite (LTU) – 5260 points
Bronze: Mhairi Spence (GBR) – 5228 points
4th: Katy Burke (GBR) – 5188 points
7th: Samantha Murray (GBR) – 5136 points
9th: Freyja Prentice (GBR) – 5100 points
13th: Heather Fell (GBR) – 5036 points
15th: Katy Livingston (GBR) – 5012 points
19th: Lydia Rosling (GBR) – 4956 points
28th: Kate French (GBR) – 4560 points
Meanwhile, Nick Woodbridge was Britain’s sole qualifier for the men’s final on Saturday – he finished 14th.