University of Bath student Joe Choong produced his best Modern Pentathlon World Cup performance so far as he finished just outside the medals in Rome.
Choong, supported by an Ivor Powell Sports Scholarship, was consistently impressive throughout the men’s final on Saturday as he finished just five seconds behind bronze-medallist Jan Kuf of the Czech Republic. French duo Valentin Prades and Christoper Patte took gold and silver respectively.
Mathematics student Choong, pictured, got off to a slow start in the fencing but turned his form around to finish with 20 victories, one less than Curry and one more than Cooke.
Another excellent swim by Cooke – one of only two athletes to go under two minutes – moved him up to fifth, level on points with Choong who recorded the fourth-fastest time of 2:00.50.
Choong continued his good form in the afternoon’s ride, knocking down just three poles to ensure he would go into the combined run/shoot well placed in seventh overall.
However, team-mates Cooke and Curry picked up plenty of obstacle and time penalties during a challenging ride, meaning they started the combined event in 24th and 36th respectively.
Their positions did not change in the final round but Choong was able to make up three places as he produced the fourth-fastest run/shoot of the day.
Choong, who finished 13th in last month’s World Cup in Brazil, qualified a quota place for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with an eighth-placed finish in the 2015 Modern Pentathlon European Championships at the University of Bath.
Sport Performance graduate French also qualified a Rio 2016 quota place at the Europeans and was the only Brit to make the women’s final in Rome after topping Qualifying Group C.
She made an equally strong start to the final as she came fourth in the fencing salle, scoring 22 victories, but her time of 2:17.95 in the swimming pool was a second down on her performance in the qualifiers.
After picking up 42 penalty points in the ride, French went into the run/shoot tenth overall before eventually crossing the line in 11th. Lithuania’s Laura Asadauskaite, the reigning Olympic and European Champion, took gold.
Pentathlon GB Performance Director Jan Bartu said: “Kate had a well-balanced day and her fencing result was really important in giving her a good start. She had a refusal at fence four in the ride that maybe shouldn’t have happened and that really set back her overall campaign.
“Kate started to look tired after the fence but this is a decent standard for her to be at in her preparation for the Rio Olympics. Her level of fatigue was palpable but she is happy with her 11th place overall.”
The next World Cup of the year is in Kecskemet, Hungary and starts on April 14 with the women’s qualification.