Pentathlon GB will send a 9-strong team to compete in next week’s 2016 Modern Pentathlon World Championships in Moscow, it has been announced today. The competition represents the final qualifying event before the Rio Olympic Games.
At just 26, former World Champion Samantha Murray is the oldest member of the team that contains significant experience despite their tender years. Murray will be joined in the women’s team by Kate French, Freyja Prentice and Senior World Championships debutant Joanna Muir.
New world number 2 Jamie Cooke, fresh off back-to-back victories at World Cup 4 in Kecskemét and the World Cup Final in Sarasota will spearhead the men’s team. Cooke will be joined by Joe Choong, Sam Curry and Tom Toolis in the individual competition. The 9th member of the squad, Shropshire’s Joe Evans, will compete in the Men’s relay.
It is still to be decided who will partner Evans in the men’s relay and who will represent Great Britain in the Women’s relay.
The event takes place from 23-29 May in the Russian capital and represents a key competition for athletes in preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The team will be looking to continue Pentathlon GB’s incredible recent record in the event which has seen Great Britain claim 9 medals in the last 4 World Championships. Four of these medals have been individual medals including golds for Samantha Murray in 2014 and Mhairi Spence in 2012.
Pentathlon GB 2016 World Championships Team:
- Kate French, 25 from Gravesend, Kent
- Joanna Muir, 21, from Dumfries, Dumfriesshire
- Samantha Murray, 26, from Clitheroe, Lancashire
- Freyja Prentice, 25, from Inverurie, nr Aberdeen
- Joe Choong, 20 from Orpington, Greater London
- Jamie Cooke, 25 from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
- Sam Curry, 22 from Salfords, Surrey
- Joe Evans, 22 from Wem, Shropshire
- Tom Toolis, 23, from Hornchurch, Essex
This is what the athletes had to say:
Kate French: “I’m really excited to be going to Moscow for the World Championships, it will be a great opportunity to compete at the very highest level before the Olympic Games. Nothing is set in stone for Rio at the moment, the women’s squad is really strong, and Moscow will have a big influence on who is selected. I love putting on the kit and going to represent my country.”
Joanna Muir: “This is my first year as a senior and my first senior World Championships so I can’t wait. I’ve competed in two World Cups and a major indoor competition in Switzerland so far this season. It’s quite scary, in a good way, because the standard is a lot higher and I’m competing against people who have won Olympic medals, which is quite surreal, but I’m really enjoying the challenge.”
Samantha Murray: “I’m really happy to be selected for the World Championships once again. I always enjoy going to them, they are a great opportunity to perform against the best and the prospect of challenging for the title really excites me. It’s always an honour to represent Great Britain as an athlete – each time I put my kit on with the Union Jack I feel really proud. We have so much support from back home as well, that always gives us a massive boost.”
Freyja Prentice: “I’m really pleased to have been selected. I’ve obviously been aiming towards this competition for quite a while now, so it’s nice to know I am definitely going to compete at the World Championships and for a place at Rio. If you medal at the Worlds it’s almost a guaranteed seat on the plane, so that’s what everyone is striving for. I’ve just had two top-ten World Cup finishes, so I have to be pleased with that and hopefully use that confidence in Moscow. I just have to make sure I get into the final and then we’ll see what happens from there.”
Joe Choong: “Being selected for the World Championships is incredibly important because it is our last chance to show how good we are in terms of selection for the Rio Olympic Games. I’ve been fortunate this year as I already have the Olympic qualification standard, so I’ve been able to focus on certain competitions and I’ve had a good block of training towards this event. There is a definite sense of pride when you get to put on the GB kit – you want to do well for yourself and for your country as well.”
Jamie Cooke: “It’s a huge honour, as always, to be chosen for the World Championships. I’m looking forward to getting out there in Moscow and competing, it should be good fun. It’s Olympic year so it’s going to be a tough competition, there are going to be a lot of guys who are trying to get Rio spaces, but I’m looking forward to it. My last two events have been fantastic, I’ve really enjoyed both of them, and things have been going really well. It’s nice to see the hard work I put in over the winter starting to pay off in the summer. Having that consistency and momentum is promising.”
Sam Curry: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be selected for Moscow. Last year I was selected for the relay, which I was happy with but I was also disappointed not to be doing the individual event. I sat down with my coach and said my real goal for this year was to be selected for the World Championships and see what I could do once I got there, so it is a very exciting opportunity for me. I’ve had the best preparation I could possibly have had, so whatever happens on the day will happen.”
Joe Evans: “It’s a huge opportunity for me and it’s brilliant to be going. It is always a fantastic feeling to be representing your country. I went to the Worlds in 2013 and 2014 but unfortunately didn’t make the finals, so I’m really pleased to have another chance this year. The World Championships are the biggest competition we have in terms of depth, everyone is there, and the standard is going to be very high – especially with it being an Olympic year.”
Tom Toolis: “I’m really excited. The World Championships only come round once a year so I want to go out there, give it my best shot and hopefully make the final. I just missed out last year so it would be good to go back and show everyone what I am capable of. Finishing in the top three would secure Olympic selection, so there is all to play for.”
Report courtesy of Pentathlon GB
Above photo: (From left) The Pentathlon GB World Championships squad of Joe Choong, Samantha Murray, Sam Curry, Frejya Prentice, Joe Evans, Joanna Muir, Jamie Cooke, Kate French and Tom Toolis.