Fab four through to women’s final as home athletes enjoy fantastic Friday at UIPM Pentathlon World Championships in Bath
Pentathlon GB’s Kerenza Bryson, Olivia Green (both pictured), Jess Varley and Emma Whitaker all successfully negotiated the semi-finals and will be joined in the gold-medal showdown by defending champion Elena Micheli, of Italy, and 2013 World Champion Laura Asadauskaite, who won gold on her two previous visits to the Team Bath Sports Training Village for the 2015 and 2019 European Championships.
Saturday sees the men bid for a place in Sunday’s finals, with University of Bath Sports Management and Coaching student Charlie Brown contesting Semi-Final A in the morning followed by defending champion Joe Choong and Myles Pillage representing the host nation in Semi-Final B in the afternoon. Tickets are available at wch2023.org.
An excellent performance in Thursday’s fencing ranking, which saw her win 20 of her 36 bouts, put Varley – who studied Natural Sciences at the University – in a strong position in Semi-final A but recent Sports Performance graduate Whitaker had work to do after recording 15 wins.
She recorded the sixth-fastest 200m freestyle time in the swimming pool to move up the rankings to 11th, while Varley started the decisive run-shoot in fifth.
Both fed off the roar of the home crowd to secure an all-important place in the top nine, Whitaker leaping into Varley’s arms as she crossed the finish line in seventh spot.
Varley was among four athletes at the head of the field, along with Egypt’s Salma Abdelmaksoud, Hungary’s Michelle Gulyas and Alice Sotero of Italy, while Lithuaniua’s Asadauskaite moved through the field to sixth, but France’s Elodie Clouvel, the Rio 2016 Olympic silver-medallist, missed out on progressing despite starting the run-shoot with a 10-second lead.
Semi-final B saw defending champion Micheli build on a fine fencing performance with the second-fastest swim to go into the run-shoot joint first with South Korea’s Sunwoo Kim. Green was in a group of athletes eight seconds behind while Bryson started 29 seconds behind the leaders in 11th.
A fantastic first shoot saw her move up seventh and she was able to join Green in the leading pack, safely away from danger. The Brits eventually crossed the line together in sixth and seventh, with Micheli and Mexico’s Mariana Arceo leading the athletes home.
Hungary’s Bianka Bauer also surged through the field to fifth after setting a new women’s world record for the laser-run, her time of 10:38:08 being 10 seconds quicker than the previous best.