Samantha Murray, Kate French, Jessica Varley and Francesca Summers all qualified for the World Cup 1 final in Los Angeles yesterday evening on the first day of women’s competition in the 2017 World Cup season. All four Pentathlon GB athletes impressed throughout the day as they ensured there will be the maximum contingent of British athletes in Saturday’s final.
Two time Olympian Murray and World Cup debutant Varley were placed in Qualifying Group 1 meaning they started their day in the fencing salle. Strong performances, including some fantastic hits, throughout the discipline meant both British athletes finished inside the top 10 with Murray picking up 16 victories and 10 defeats and Varley securing one victory less.
The duo then moved to the pool for the 200m swim and Clitheroe’s Murray demonstrated why it is one of her favourite disciplines with a 2:14.97 placing her 4th in the group standings. Fotheringhay’s Varley also produced a strong performance in the pool with her time of 2:25.74 placing her 14th in the group. It meant the Pentathlon GB athletes started their laser-run in 4th and 10th respectively and well placed to qualify for the final.
Both 27 year-old Murray and 21 year-old Varley ensured they did that, moving up places in the laser-run as they crossed the line 3rd and 5th respectively to comfortably make it into the last 36.
Meanwhile, former North Kent Modern Pentathlon Club athletes Kate French and Francesca Summers were placed together in Group B. This meant they started their 2017 World Cup campaigns in the pool and both athletes produced strong performances with French recording a time of 2:21.36 and Summers 2:25.09.
In their group’s fencing, Gravesend’s French made an impressive start before finishing with 15 victories and 10 defeats whilst Dorking’s Summers did the reverse, a strong finish seeing the 2015 Junior World Champion record 14 victories alongside her 11 defeats. It meant both Brits finished inside the top 10 of the fencing discipline standings once again.
Added to the points picked up in their swim, 26 year-old French headed into the concluding laser-run in 8th with 21 year-old Summers 3 places and 16 seconds further back. Like their teammates before them, both Brits calmly secured their passage to the final with French crossing the line 3rd and Summers 13th.
Jan Bartu’s Thoughts
Pentathlon GB Performance Director Jan Bartu was pleased with the team’s performance over the first two days of World Cup competition in 2017 saying “Both semi-finals have reflected the beginning of the season with some new faces competing but the competition is still tough and it’s a good test for our British athletes as the Tokyo cycle begins.”
Bartu was full of praise for the four GB girls stating “The girls proved that they belong among the top modern pentathlon teams in the world and it’s fantastic to have all four qualifying for the final.”
The Pentathlon GB Performance Director also had special mention for World Cup debutant Varley saying “She did very well on her first appearance at this level and didn’t get overawed by the occasion which can easily happen. It was pleasing to see her adapt to new surroundings and qualify for the final.”
The Women’s final begins at 19.30 GMT on Saturday.
This evening (Friday 24th January) sees the Men’s final get underway with Jamie Cooke, Sam Curry and Tom Toolis all competing for Pentathlon GB having qualified on Wednesday.
When commenting on their qualifying performances, Bartu said ‘We were happy with the way the boys approached the day yesterday and 3 qualifying for the final was a good result for the team. Myles Pillage did well on his first World Cup appearance but it can be tough and when things don’t go your way it can get very frustrating. However, he will have another opportunity to perform in the Mixed Relay [on Sunday] which will give him a good chance to pick up more experience. Therefore, he is now preparing for that whilst the other three boys concentrate on the individual final.”
Report courtesy of Pentathlon GB