Team GB’s Joe Choong makes strong start to Olympic modern pentathlon campaign
Day 13 of the 2016 Olympic Games saw the modern pentathlon competitions begin with the Women’s and Men’s fencing ranking rounds.
Team GB are being represented by Kate French, Samantha Murray, Joe Choong and Jamie Cooke with the British quartet enduring mixed fortunes on their first day.
In the men’s event, Choong made a fantastic start to his debut Olympics by finishing 8th with 22 victories and 13 defeats. He secured the 4th highest number of hits but unfortunately a late red card meant he received a 10 point penalty. Cooke, the current World Number 1, finished the ranking round in a tie for 28th on 14 victories and 21 defeats. .
Orpington born Choong was naturally delighted with his performance, commenting that “I feel like that’s the best fence I’ve had by a couple of hits, which is quite a lot in modern pentathlon.
“It’s marred a little bit by the red card I got towards the end, but even with that 10 point deduction it’s the best score I’ve had so it puts me in good stead for Saturday.
“It definitely gives me confidence because if I look at my previous results I haven’t fenced this well. Also, I’ve not had a perfect ride so as long as my riding goes well I’ll be really close to the medals at the end of Saturday I think.
“I’ve loved my time in Rio so far, I’ve been smiling like a little child! Obviously it’s my first time at an Olympics so I’m really enjoying the atmosphere and the village.”
Meanwhile, in the women’s competition, French finished in a tie for 15th with 17 victories and 18 defeats whilst London 2012 silver medallist Murray picked up 14 victories and 21 defeats to complete the opening discipline in joint 28th. Both women were disappointed with their performances with Gravesend born French saying “I finished really strongly but it wasn’t really the result I was hoping for.
“I definitely think I can make up some ground tomorrow; we’ve got another 4 events to go, so it’s certainly not over yet.
“I was really looking forward to it this morning, I warmed up well. I can be proud of how I did; it just took me too long to get going.
“I’m definitely not going to give up and I’ll do my best tomorrow.”
Clitheroe’s Murray stated “I’m disappointed with the result. I didn’t really find myself on the piste and didn’t get a rhythm going with scoring hits. I think that because my momentum was off I didn’t build much confidence throughout the day, so I wasn’t very positive with my movements, especially coming forwards.
“That probably showed in my body language and how I executed my positions. Fourteen victories is the worst I’ve fenced this year. I know that didn’t fence very well and didn’t do myself justice and for that reason I accept what I scored.”
However, the former World Champion was still focusing on making a positive impact throughout the remainder of the completion tomorrow, saying “My focus is still on making the top ten. I’m not focussing on a medal. Now it’s different, it isn’t about the combat element; the other sports are different so it is solely down to me. I have the swimming, which is my strongest event next, and I’ll try to execute a really good ride.
“The final event, the running and shooting, is where you can make up the most ground in pentathlon, so I’ll just go and run my best and be as accurate as I can in the shooting.
“Because it’s the Olympics Games, the best thing I can do tomorrow is to go out and enjoy it because it is a great opportunity, it is an experience, and that’s what I intend to do.
“I know if I cross the line and look back in hindsight tomorrow and today and know I’ve given it everything then I can walk away feeling happy.”
The women’s competition concludes tomorrow (Friday 19th August) starting with the swimming at 16:00 BST before the fencing bonus round, riding and combined run-shoot which concludes at 22:20 BST. The men’s final continues on Saturday and follows the same timings as the women’s event.
Report courtesy of Pentathlon GB