Samantha Murray, Kate French and Joanna Muir all made it through to the European Championships final on a successful day for Pentathlon GB’s women’s team in Hungary. The Brits qualified in different fashions but negotiated their way safely through a potentially hazardous day which saw some big European names struggling.
Story of the Day – Group A
2012 London silver medallist Murray was placed in qualifying group A, beginning her day in the fencing hall. A lightning start to proceedings saw the 28-year-old Brit begin with 5 straight victories, putting her top of the early standings. Most importantly, the Clitheroe born pentathlete maintained her momentum through to the finish, ending the discipline still in top spot and with 18 victories and just 5 defeats to her name.
In the pool, a strong performance saw Murray and Russia’s Gulnaz Gubaydullina at the head of proceedings throughout, the Brit just getting the touch to record the quickest time of the day in 2:10.81 and top a second discipline.
That meant Murray enjoyed a 19-second advantage over the rest of the field heading into the laser run. However, in the final discipline it was just about qualifying and the University of Bath based athlete comfortably did that as she crossed the line with the leading group.
Story of the Day – Group B
Gravesend’s French and Dumfries’ Muir were placed together in qualifying group B. That meant they began their day in the swimming pool and were drawn alongside each other in Heat 2. Strong swims from both British athletes saw 23-year-old Muir stop the clock in 2:17.63 with 27-year-old French just behind in 2:18.53, placing both athletes inside the top 10 of the discipline standings.
The British duo made a promising start in the fencing hall both recording early victories over the strong home Hungarian pairing of 2016 World Champion Sarolta Kovacs and 2017 world silver medallist Zsofia Foldhazi. It was to be World Cup 4 winner French that kicked on in the second half of the discipline though, finishing with 14 victories and 9 defeats after another impressive fencing showing. Alongside her, Muir finished with 9 victories to her name meaning French was placed in 6th and Muir 16th heading into the laser run.
With French comfortably inside the top 15, a controlled laser run from the Rio Olympian saw her finish alongside the leading group to book her place in Saturday’s final. Starting one place outside the automatic qualifying slots, Muir faced a much more pressurised final discipline and was still in 16th heading out of the range for the final time. However, a gutsy final 800m run from the Scot saw her overtake two athletes, including reigning European Champion Anastasiya Prokopenko, to ensure she made the European final for the third straight year.
Murray, French and Muir will be back in action for the women’s final in Szekesfehervar on Saturday. Before that, Jamie Cooke, Joe Choong, Sam Curry and Tom Toolis will compete in men’s qualifying tomorrow (Friday).
Full results – Group A
Full results – Group B
Next year’s European Modern Pentathlon Championships will take place at the University of Bath, home of Pentathlon GB’s National Training Centre. The National Lottery funded event, dubbed “Gladiators Return”, will see the best modern Pentathletes from across Europe descend on the former Roman Spa town and will run from 6th-11th August 2019. As well as continental crowns, Tokyo Olympic qualifying places will be up for grabs making it one of the most important events of the season. For more information visit:www.pentathlongb.org/euros2019
Courtesy of Pentathlon GB