All four British women competing at the opening Modern Pentathlon World Cup of the year in the USA have progressed safely to tomorrow’s (Saturday) final.
Beijing 2008 Olympic silver medallist Heather Fell and team-mate Katy Burke both qualified comfortably from semi-final B at the competition at Palm Springs in California.
They will be joined in the final by Kate French and 18-year-old University of Bath Sports Performance student Jo Muir, who is contesting her first World Cup. Both qualified from semi A.
Great Britain, whose team train at the Pentathlon GB High Performance Centre at the Unveristy of Bath, joins China and Russia as the only nations with four women in Saturday’s final.
Jan Bartu, Pentathlon GB’s Performance Director said: “It was an exciting day with two very different stories. Heather and Katy sailed through the competition with a good swim, strong fence and combined event, they were never at risk of missing the final.
“The other two girls struggled from the outset in the fencing discipline but fought back in the swim and combined event.
“It’s fantastic news that they all made the finals and it’s especially encouraging for the younger athletes. I’m really pleased they have another opportunity to compete at a world class level and gain such valuable experience.”
The new qualification system meant a top-12 finish in each of the semis secured an automatic path to the final, with the next top-12 points scorers from the two semis also progressing.
Burke came home sixth in semi-final B, ending the day on 3940 points, with Fell crossing the finish line after the combined run/shoot two places and two seconds behind her.
Group B started in the pool, where Burke’s 200m freestyle time of 2:15.03 meant she started the day in fourth. Fell’s 2:19.22 put her eighth. Fell was fourth in the fence, winning 17 of her 25 bouts, while Burke scored 15 wins.
The GB pair both ensured they did enough in the run/shoot to secure an automatic final berth, with Burke clocking 13:56.30 and Fell 14:02.02.
The less experienced pair of French and World Cup debutant Muir went in semi-final A.
They both won eight of their 25 fencing bouts to start the day in joint 21st. Muir’s swim of 2:19.57 was the eighth quickest of the semi-final, while French’s 2:21.61 was 10th.
French produced a strong run/shoot, with 13:12.47 – the third fastest time – to climb from 19th to 15th and progress to the final. Muir’s 13:33.05 was 10th fastest and saw her end her first day of World Cup action in 15th, also enough to book a place in the final.
Later today the trio of GB men – Jamie Cooke, Sam Curry and Joe Evans contest the men’s final in Palm Springs. Curry and Evans are both competing at their first World Cups.