Second gold for Pentathlon GB and Russia’s women excel on day of comebacks at Modern Pentathlon European Championships
Great Britain won a second gold in as many days and Russia claimed the women’s relay title in fine style on an action-packed Day 2 of the 2019 Modern Pentathlon European Championships at the University of Bath.
Fresh from winning mixed relay gold with Kerenza Bryson on Tuesday, Myles Pillage teamed up with fellow Bath student Oliver Murray to take the honours in the men’s relay.
They did it the hard way too after starting eighth and 18 seconds adrift in the decisive laser-run before working their way brilliantly through the field to cross the line first ahead of Ukraine and Hungary, much to the delight of a big home crowd.
Biochemistry student Pillage, supported by a Trendell Sporting Scholarship, said: “To win two golds in two days is an absolute dream. To hear that support gives you so much energy, an extra kick when you need it, and we definitely needed it today.”
Electronic & Electrical Engineering student Murray, who was making his debut at a major senior championships, added: “That’s not how I expected us to win a medal today! The fact that it was gold and it was won in such style was just awesome. We’ve had a great time, it’s been so much fun and the fans were amazing.”
Ukraine’s Andriy Fedechko, who won silver with Vladyslav Rydvanskyi, said: “It’s amazing – I am old, so not bad!” His team-mate laughed: “He is old but strong.”
Hungary’s Istvan Malits and Richard Bereczki, who started the run-shoot in seventh, were delighted to complete the podium. “I am very happy, we are very happy,” said Bereczki. “We focused on the podium and we made it.”
Russia prevented a clean sweep of relay titles by the host nation as Ekerterina Khuraskina and Anastasia Petrova produced excellent performances in the ride and laser-run to secure the women’s relay crown.
They were the only team to score a maximum 300 points in an eventful riding discipline that saw Pentathlon GB’s Charlie Follett and Zoe Davison slip from first to fourth.
The Russians were put under early pressure by Italy and Hungary during the final event but Khuraskina was eventually able to shake them off and went on to finish eight seconds clear of the field.
“We started the afternoon in fourth place so we are very happy to win gold after some great shooting and great riding,” said Petrova.
Italy’s Beatrice Mercuri and Irene Prampolini started the laser-run in fifth place, 32 seconds adrift, but ran superbly to take silver.
Prampolini said: “I can’t believe that we got a medal, especially a silver as well, because our fencing wasn’t good at the start of the day. This is Beatrice’s first competition as a senior and I am very happy for both of us.”
Mercuri added: “The pace was quicker and the competition was so hard in the fencing but my team-mate finished well. My favourite part of the day was the end, for sure!”
Bronze went to Hungary’s Kamilla Reti and Luca Barta, who said: “It’s been a tough day and we did everything we could, so I’m very happy with the result.”
Davison, who finished fourth with Follett, added: “It’s amazing how quickly things can change in pentathlon. We were flying at the beginning of the day and won two events, then in a matter of seconds it was taken out of our hands. That’s what makes pentathlon so exciting but also so heartwrenching.”
Attention now turns to the individual events, with the men’s qualifying heats taking place on Thursday. They will be looking to book a place in Saturday’s final where eight Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifying places will be up for grabs, along with the coveted continental title.
The National Lottery-backed 2019 Modern Pentathlon European Championships – dubbed Gladiators Return – are taking place from August 6-11 at the University of Bath Sports Training Village, home of the Pentathlon GB National Training Centre. More than 150 athletes from 25 countries are competing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifying event, with all five disciplines – swimming, fencing, riding and the combined run/shoot – taking place in one venue. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.