With the 2015 Modern Pentathlon European Championships – held at the University of Bath from August 17-23 – fast approaching, we take a look back at just a snippet of the incredible success enjoyed over the past five years by athletes based at the Pentathlon GB High Performance Centre at the Sports Training Village.
Following the successes of Steph Cook (gold) and Kate Allenby (bronze) at Sydney 2000, and George Harland (bronze) at Athens 2004, Fell joined the talented list of Bath-based athletes to reach the pinnacle of modern pentathlon by clinching Olympic silver in Beijing.
September 2010 – Bath trio secure team silver at World Championships
Beijing proved itself a successful hunting ground yet again for Fell as she led young team-mates Freyja Prentice and Samantha Murray to silver medals in the women’s team event. The Championships would provide Murray, just 20-years old and making her first World Championships appearance at the time, with her first taste of top-level success.
Coach Education and Sports Development graduate Spence notched bronze in Hungary to add to her silver in the USA to maintain Pentathlon GB’s record of winning medals at every World Cup event of the year back in 2011 following Prentice’s bronze in Sardinia three weeks prior.
Some unprecedented top-level male success saw Woodbridge do what no other British man has done before when he earned bronze in London.
“It’s fantastic, especially to do it at the Olympic venue,” said a delighted Woodbridge. “I’ve won two World Cup medals before, but to do it at a World Cup Final is a bit special.”
In a stupendous year for Pentathlon GB, Spence and Murray kicked off preparations for London 2012 with gold and bronze respectively in Rome. Spence’s gold was the first at a World Championships since Steph Cook in 2001. The pair went on to also win team gold alongside Heather Fell.
In front of home fans, 22-year-old Murray maintained an impeccable Olympic track record for Bath’s modern pentathlon athletes to win Team GB’s final medal at London 2012.
An ecstatic Murray said: “I’m completely elated, it’s been an amazing day. It was an honour to compete in front of a home crowd.”
Murray, Spence and new team-mate Kate French combined to deliver Pentathlon GB’s third medal of the Championships with gold in the women’s team event.
Jan Bartu, Pentathlon GB Performance Director, said: “They dominated the team competition today, everything went for them. It was a really well deserved gold medal and a very positive experience for them.”
During the same Championships in which the women retained the team gold they won in Rome the year previous, Woodbridge broke another British male barrier – this time to clinch silver in the men’s World Championships in Taiwan. The 27-year-old secured his medal with a strong showing in the riding and combined events on Saturday.
Murray continued her impressive medal haul by clinching yet more silverware – this time in the mixed relay competition alongside 2013 Newcomer of the Year winner Joe Evans.
The duo missed out on gold by just three seconds after being pipped at the line by the reigning world champions from Lithuania.
Later this month, the Bath-based athletes aim to replicate this incredible success yet again with the support of a home crowd.
The Championships – which will run from 17 to 23 August 2015 – will be the first senior international modern pentathlon competition held in the UK since the London 2012 Olympic Games.
So why not come along and witness further history in the making for as little as £1 for under-18s?