Charlie Follett and Jo Muir lead GB one-two as University of Bath graduates excel at Modern Pentathlon European Championships
Charlie Follett struck individual and team gold, and fellow University of Bath alumna Jo Muir won silver as Pentathlon GB’s women excelled at the 2022 Modern Pentathlon European Championships in Székesfehérvár, Hungary.
Olympic Champion Kate French and recent Bath graduate Myles Pillage also dominated the mixed relay competition, winning the title in impressive style.
Psychology graduate Follett was in fantastic form all week and built on her outstanding fencing performance in the ranking round, where she won 26 of her 35 bouts, to claim her first international title.
A perfect score in the horse riding and the eighth-fastest time of 2:20.72 in the swimming pool meant Follett had a healthy lead going into the laser-run and she was able to cross the line 29 seconds clear of team-mate Muir, who produced the fastest time in the final discipline to climb up the rankings to second spot.
Follett said: “It’s difficult to describe the emotional experience of crossing the line first in a major competition. It’s a combination of relief, pride, gratitude and empowerment, all wrapped up into a brief moment. It’s surreal.
“I’ve had a really positive and consistent season this year, placing top 10 all year and moving up to eighth on the World Ranking list is amazing, but I’m under no illusions as to where I am and where I need to be as we head into Olympic qualification season.
“We have an unbelievably talented set of British women and we are lucky to have a healthy competitiveness within our training group and amazing coaches and support staff. I’d like to let them all know how important they are to us and remind them that my Senior European Champion title is one for all of us.”
French also finished the day strongly after a frustrating riding round to place fifth overall, meaning that she, Follett and Muir were emphatic winners of the women’s team title.
Charlie Follett takes an incredible GOLD medal 🥇at the Senior European Championships!
Team mate Jo Muir takes the SILVER medal 🥈
Kate French finishes a fantastic 5th!
The GB team also take GOLD 🥇🥇🥇
— Pentathlon GB (@PentathlonGB) September 18, 2022
A medal was never in doubt for British duo French and Pillage in the mixed relay as they remained in and around the top spots throughout the day. A confident start in the fencing with 21 victories, was followed up with excellent rides from both, picking up just one time penalty after both riders went clear.
Their combined effort in the pool clocked them the second fastest time of the competition (1:58.33) just behind the French pair of Oteiza and Fleurot (01:58.31), who would line up behind them in the laser run.
With a twenty-one second advantage, the British team took to the track with confidence, and despite both their French rivals closing the gap, and the Italian team of Frezza and Cincelli storming through the field from 7th place to take silver, they maintained their position to bring home another medal for Great Britain.
Reflecting on his performance Pillage, who missed last season with a broken arm and has been frustrated by illness and injury this year, said: “First of all, I’m just really pleased to be back competing after nearly a year away due to injuries. To come back and get a relay gold on my first competition is great – and a bit of a relief to be honest.
“When you’ve been out of the game for such a long time, you never know how you’re going to perform, but of course it helps to have an Olympic Champion as a team mate!”