Live blog – Modern Pentathlon European Championships day 6

23 August 2015

A memorable week of Modern Pentathlon European Championships action concludes at the University of Bath Sports Training Village on Sunday with the women’s final.

University of Bath graduate Samantha Murray, the London 2012 Olympic silver-medallist and 2014 World Champion, is among those going for glory in a world-class field.

Eight Rio 2016 qualification places are also up for grabs, with Pentathlon GB’s Kate French, Freyja Prentice (pictured, by Phil Searle) and Francesca Summers hoping to emulate Mathematics student Joe Choong’s achievement in Saturday’s final.

We will be providing updates throughout the day, with the final medals being presented around 6pm.

Kate French almost went clear in the ride during the European Championships women's final

Kate French almost went clear in the ride during the European Championships women’s final

4.30pm: RIDING An eventful afternoon in the show-jumping arena, in which there was just one clear round and plenty of refusals, has shaken up the standings, although it is still Elodie Clouvel who holds a 26-second lead going into the combined run/shoot. Ukraine’s Anastasiya Spas moves to second after an impressive ride in which she picked up just three time penalties.

Russia’s Gulnaz Gubaydullina secured the only maximum 300-point haul to climb from ninth to joint third with Germany’s Janine Kohlmann.

Gubaydullina said: “I’m feeling great. I did everything my trainer told me to so everything is great. I hope that things will go equally well in the combined. All is going to plan as my trainer says.”

Lena Schoneborn and Laura Asadauskaite show their quality by finishing joint fourth in the ride, putting them seventh and 11th overall respectively.

Samantha Murray has three fences down and will start the combined event in ninth, 51 seconds behind Clouvel. Kate French produces an excellent ride, just clipping the last fence, to move up to 15th overall, one place ahead of Freyja Prentice who was 12th in the ride.

“I didn’t quite find that happy balance in my ride,” said Prentice. “It was a really nice horse and I knew I needed to ride forwards but on one of the jumps she was a bit too forwards and on another I tried to check her a bit too much.

“That’s the challenge with modern pentathlon because you don’t get that long to work out your horse and you’ve got to make do with what you’ve got. It’s annoying because I felt like I rode quite well and two poles is quite a lot of time to make up but that seems to be my day today.

“The riding staff have done a really good job. It is quite a tough course and it’s quite slippy because of the rain but the horses are very good and I think that’s good for us because we are a stronger nation in riding. It means that somebody who isn’t necessarily so strong will struggle and that’s how it should be in modern pentathlon.

“I’m not as confident as I would usually be going into a combined. I’ve been injured in the lead up and it was a bit of a do or die as to whether I was going to make the competition so I’m definitely not as fit as I’d like to be. However, it’s my last race and last competition of this year so I’m going to give it my all.

“It’s great to have the home support. I didn’t think I was going to be able to compete here, so getting the chance to compete in front of my family is lovely and it gives me a chance to show them what I can do, even if it’s not quite as good as I’d like.”

Francesca Summers, 13th in the ride, will start in a pack of athletes two minutes behind the leader.

(From left) Georgina Harland, Pentathlon GB team manager Dominic Mahony, Dr Stephanie Cook and Kate Allenby

(From left) Georgina Harland, Pentathlon GB team manager Dominic Mahony, Dr Stephanie Cook and Kate Allenby

2.30pm: If the Pentathlon GB women need inspiration this afternoon, they only need to look to the stands where three Olympic medallists are cheering them on. Dr Stephanie Cook and Kate Allenby famously won gold and bronze respectively at Sydney 2000, while Georgina Harland bagged bronze at Athens 2004.

“It’s great to be back in Bath and see what a fantastic job they have done in staging this competition,” said Cook. “It is an amazing venue and there is such a good atmosphere, especially for the Brits.”

Another British Olympic medallist, Heather Fell, is in the commentary box for this afternoon’s ride and combined run/shoot. If you’re not at the Sports Training Village, watch all the action here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4CgLsgY5Gw

Freyja Prentice and Kate French prepare to fence in front of the home crowd at the European Championships
Freyja Prentice and Kate French prepare to fence in front of the home crowd at the European Championships

12.30pm: FENCING France’s Elodie Clouvel will hold a commanding lead going into this afternoon’s ride after following up her win in the pool with victory in the fencing. She suffered just eight defeats in her 33 bouts, one less that Germany’s Janine Kohlmann and Tatsiana Yelizarova of Belarus.

Yelizarova, who also won the bonus round, said: “The fencing was playful, there was a good positive atmosphere. Hopefully everything will be good for me this afternoon.”

Poland’s Oktawia Nowacka enjoyed an eight-bout winning streak in the bonus round. She said: “I don’t know if there was anything different in the bonus round, I started to fence and thought it would be like the ranking round and I felt very good.  I like the atmosphere and the support from my team was very helpful.”

World Champion Lena Schoneborn of Germany and Olympic Champion Laura Asadauskaite of Lithuania are fifth and eighth respectively in the fencing, moving them up the overall rankings.

Freyja Prentice is the best performing Brit in the sports hall turned fencing salle with 18 wins, one more than Samantha Murray and Kate French. Francesca Summers won ten of her bouts, while Natalie Dianova of the Czech Republic and Latvia’s Elena Rublevska had to pull out through injury.

Italy’s Gloria Tocchi, ninth in the fencing, said: “The fencing is my favourite sport and the discipline which I am usually best in, so today the fencing was not so good for me.

“I hope I get a good horse in the riding and I hope to do a clear round so that I am in the first five or eight people for the combined.”

The Pentathlon GB coaches and Performance Director Jan Bartu cheer on Samantha Murray in her heat
The Pentathlon GB coaches and Performance Director Jan Bartu cheer on Samantha Murray in her heat

8.30am: SWIMMING Samantha Murray gets her medal challenge off to a strong start by setting the second-fastest time of 2:09.50 in the London 2012 Legacy Pool. Touching the wall first was France’s Elodie Clouvel, just four-tenths of a second quicker than the home favourite.

Russia’s Gulnaz Gubaydullina (2:10.30), Hungary’s Sarolta Kovacs (2:10.52) and Italy’s Alice Sotero (2:11.48) complete the top five going into the fencing.

Kate French was runner-up in her heat in 2:19.29, putting her 15th overall. “It is really nice coming down the pool and hearing the cheers and noise,” she said.

Francesca Summers (2:22.80) and Freyja Prentice (2:24.19) lie 27th and 28th respectively after the opening round.

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