Kate French, Joanna Muir and Francesca Summers all qualified for the women’s final at the 2018 World Championships, ensuring Pentathlon GB would have team representation in the last 36 on Wednesday.
It was a serene day for both current European silver medallist French and 2014 Youth Olympic Games silver medallist Summers with impressive fencing performances setting them on their way to qualification. For 2016 World Championships women’s relay medallist Muir, it was the laser run which ensured her progress with a scintillating display in the final discipline of the day.
Teenager Zoe Davison, making her World Championships debuts in Mexico City, missed out on qualification but there were still plenty of positives to take from the day for the young Brit in conditions which proved to be as tough as promised in the build-up to the event.
Story of the Day – Group A
European silver medallist French was placed alongside Scot Muir in qualifying group A. That meant the duo begin their 2018 World Championships campaigns in the fencing hall with French performing strongly, just as she has done for the past two years. The Rio Olympian got off to a quick start and was towards the top of the discipline standings throughout, eventually finishing fourth with 23 victories and 10 defeats from her 33 bouts. For recently turned 24-year-old Muir, it was a different story with the Brit struggling in the second half of the discipline, claiming just one victory from her final 10 bouts. That meant Muir finished with 11 victories and 22 defeats to her name, giving her an uphill task for the rest of the day.
In the pool, part of the main arena in the world’s first ever Pentathlon Stadium, both British athletes performed well. It was Muir who led the way, stopping the clock in 2:18.82, narrowly ahead of fellow University of Bath graduate French who recorded a time of 2:19.26. Those times meant French was placed in 2nd with Jo 25th in the overall group standings.
Being at the top end of end of leaderboards is something 27-year-old French is getting used to and the Pentathlon GB athlete once again showed calmness and composure in the concluding run-shoot as she maintained her place inside the top 10 of the group standings to comfortably qualify for Wednesday’s final. Behind her, the task was much tougher for Muir, starting 36 seconds behind 15th and the all-important automatic qualifying places. However, the Brit is one of the best laser run athletes in the world and once again demonstrated her skill in the final discipline with a sublime display of running and shooting which saw her move up inside the top 10, crossing the finish line alongside French to ensure her own place in the women’s final.
Story of the Day – Group B
The two youngest members of the women’s team, 22-year-old Summers and 19-year-old Davison were both placed in qualifying group B, beginning their day in the pool. It was to be an encouraging start the day for both Brits with World Championships debutant Davison opening her campaign with a time of 2:16.65 and Summers, making her first international appearance since the end of May, recording a time of 2:21.12.
In the fencing hall, it was Surrey’s Summers who led the British charge, winning 10 of her opening 13 bouts on the way to a terrific score of 21 victories and 10 defeats. Alongside her, Davison, who is still only in her first year as a Junior athlete was around the level mark throughout the discipline. That continued right the way through to its conclusion with the Gloucestershire athlete, one of the youngest in the field, finishing with 15 victories and 16 defeats from her 31 bouts. That meant Summers was 2nd in the overall group standings with Davison in 16th after the opening two disciplines in Mexico City.
As French had done before her, Summers produced an assured display in the concluding run-shoot to book her place in the final. With lots of experienced athletes around her battling for the last few qualifying places, things were always going to be tough for Davison with the British teenager missing out on qualification. However, there was still plenty of encouragement for the Brit to take from the day and her first appearance at a major senior championship.
Tomorrow sees men’s qualifying taking place with Joe Choong, Jamie Cooke, Sam Curry and Myles Pillage all in action for Pentathlon GB. French, Muir and Summers will also return to action tomorrow with the women’s fencing ranking round taking place before the remainder of the final on Wednesday.
Courtesy of Pentathlon GB