Jess Varley produced the most impressive performance of her career to date as she finished 7th at World Cup 3 after a confident display across all five disciplines in Szekesfehervar.
The result saw the 24-year-old become the seventh different Pentathlon GB athlete to record a World Cup personal best in 2019 and underlined the current strength in depth of the GB women’s squad. Varley was followed over the line by Jo Muir in 8th as the Scot placed one position higher than she did in Sofia last time out with Kate French crossing the line 15th.
It was a statement of intent from the whole team ahead of August’s European Championships in Bath with Great Britain the only nation to have three finishers inside the top 20 in the city that hosted last year’s Europeans.
Story of the Day
The women’s final began in the pool with the 200m swim. It was Dumfries’ Muir who led the British charge, stopping the clock in 2:17.10, just ahead of Gravesend’s French in 2:19.67. Varley also made her intentions for the day clear, recording a time of 2:21.99, over a second quicker than she managed in qualifying on Wednesday.
Varley, making her first World Cup appearance of the season, got off to a slow start in the fencing hall. However, the Brit stuck to the task at hand, and a strong finish saw the 24-year-old finish with a positive score of 19 victories and 16 defeats from her 35 bouts.
Rio Olympian French had the opposite ranking round to her Pentathlon GB teammate, starting extremely strongly before finishing with an identical score of 19 victories and 16 defeats. Muir, had more of a struggle than her teammates, however the 24-year-old kept battling to the end, eventually finishing with 14 hits to her name.
In the bonus round, it was only Varley who picked up further points, courtesy of a victory over Germany’s Janine Kohlmann. The reigning Under 24 European bronze medallist also fared best in the ride, a superbly controlled round seeing her score 295 points with Muir picking up 286 and French 279 respectively. That meant Varley was the highest placed Brit in 11th after the opening three disciplines with French 18th and Muir 25th heading into the laser run.
As has become customary at modern pentathlon events, a thrilling run-shoot followed with positions changing throughout, particularly in the middle of the field. With the Brits all strong runners, they were among those to benefit, Varley moving up steadily to 7th, a position she maintained throughout the final 800m to cap a superb display. Behind her, Muir was making even bigger strides, a stunning laser run display seeing the Pentathlon GB move all the way up to 8th to record her own World Cup PB result for the second straight event.
In the city that she claimed European silver last year, French couldn’t find the same magic on the track, but a fine run-shoot still saw the Rio Olympian gain ground as she came home 15th.
Saturday sees the men’s final taking place in Szekesfehervar with Joe Choong, Jamie Cooke and Sam Curry all in action for Pentathlon GB. That is followed by the mixed relay on Sunday where Choong will team up with World Cup debutant Olivia Green.
Courtesy of Pentathlon GB