Source: Phil Searle, Digitalscape

A feast of Olympic and world medallists to contest Europeans in Bath

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Current modern pentathlon ‘royalty’ is set to descend on Bath early next month when the National Lottery-supported European Championships and Tokyo qualifier take place at the University’s Sports Training Village from 6-11 August.

25 nations and over 150 athletes are now registered for the event, dubbed Gladiators Return in recognition of Bath’s Roman history and the gladiatorial battles across the five disciplines of swimming, fencing, horse-riding, running and laser shooting which feature in this Olympic sport.

The international line-up includes the reigning men’s Olympic champion, Alexander Lesun of Russia, the reigning European men’s and women’s champions – Marie Oteiza and Valentin Prades of France – and the reigning women’s World Champion Anastasiya Propenko of Belarus. Propenko is also joined in Bath by the 2019 women’s World silver and bronze medallists – Annika Schleu of Germany and Oteiza of France.

Competition next month for those continental crowns and medals will be fierce but Britain will also be fielding a strong home team which could include its reigning men’s world champion Jamie Cooke, its reigning world cup final champion Joe Choong and 2019 world cup gold winner and reigning European silver medallist Kate French. The GB team for the Championships is set to be announced shortly.

Laura Asaudaskaite and Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe won the individual titles four years ago when the event was last in Bath and hosted by Pentathlon GB and they return to the fray once more in 2019. Asaudaskaite, the 2012 Olympic Champion, proved her recent form by winning the women’s world cup final in Tokyo.

2015 also marked the moment when French and Choong booked Rio 2016 places for the nation. This year, eight Tokyo men’s quota places and eight women’s places in the individual events will be on offer with Choong already having secured one place for GB in Tokyo with his world cup final win earlier this month.

Four days of action precedes the individual finals on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 August with medals to be awarded in the mixed relay (Tuesday 6) and the men’s and women’s relays (Wednesday 7). The individual qualifiers will be on Thursday 8 and Friday 9 August before the big weekend battles for continental crowns and Olympic qualifying places. The University provides one of the most compact competition venues for modern pentathlon with all facilities on site.

Tickets are selling strongly for the event which will also see spectators feel part of the action with the chance to try a mini modern pentathlon for themselves.

Sara Heath, CEO of Pentathlon GB said: “We now know that we have a stunning entry for the Europeans which will provide a tough test for the home team but also a feast of top names for the spectators. Everyone who comes to watch will see the tension of a major event, with medals and titles at stake, but they can also feel part of the Olympic journey”.

Rebecca Leach, Event Director said: “When I saw the calibre of the entry, it made all the hard work behind the scenes feel even more worthwhile. We have teams of volunteers arriving at the University soon and they also look set to feel part of something very special”.

Organisers have also arranged for spectators to try their own mini-pentathlon, including the chance to have a go at laser-shooting.

GB’s Kate French, world cup gold winner already this season and the reigning European silver medallist, said: “It’s a really exciting time for us and we’re hoping to build towards Olympic qualification places in Bath. I loved competing here four years ago, it was great to be able to compete somewhere you know so well and to have the home crowd to spur you on all the way to the finish line”.

Action begins on Tuesday 6 August and runs until Sunday 11 August. The individual finals are on the 10 and 11 but there are also relay finals on Tuesday and Wednesday 6 and 7 August. Tickets start from £3 per adult

Courtesy of the Team Bath Press Office at Matchtight