GB pentathletes win silver fencing medal with Scotland team

07 October 2010

University of Bath graduates Mhairi Spence and Louise Helyer helped Scotland to a silver medal at the Commonwealth Fencing Championships in Australia.

The pair are members of Britain’s modern pentathlon team and train at the Pentathlon GB high performance centre at the University of Bath.

They helped the Scotland team finish runners-up to the host nation in the women’s team epee competition at the championships in Melbourne.

Scotland beat Singapore 45/30 in the quarter-finals and then secured 38/31 win over England in the semis to set up the final, but the Australian team took gold 45/28.

University of Bath Coach Education and Sports Development graduate Spence just missed out on the medals in the individual women’s epee, finishing fifth in a field of 36 fencers. Having topped her pool by winning all five of her bouts, she won her next two knockout contests before suffered a quarter-final defeat at the hands of England’s Jayne Crook.

Helyer, also a Coach Education and Sports Development graduate, finished 15th overall. Winning two of her five pool contests, she finished fourth in her pool, a pool that included eventual gold medallist Evelyn Halls of Australia. She then beat fellow Scot Kirsty Thomson in the round of 32 before losing to New Zealand’s Jessica Beer, who went on to win silver.

Epee fencing is one the modern pentathlon disciplines, with each fencer taking on every other fencer in the field to a score of one hit. In the competition at the Commonwealth Fencing Championships athletes compete for longer against the athlete they are drawn against.

In modern pentathlon, after the fencing athletes tackle a 200m freestyle swim, a show jumping equestrian element and then a combined run/shoot, all in the same day.

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