Source: Team GB

Team GB take bronze in modern pentathlon mixed relay

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Team GB’s Sam Curry and Jess Varley claimed bronze in today’s modern pentathlon mixed relay after a dramatic finish in a tightly contested laser run.

The Krakow 2023 European Games marked Team GB debuts for both Curry and Varley, who took their place on the podium behind Czechia with gold and Hungary with silver.

The fencing ranking round placed Curry and Varley in tenth before outstanding show jumping performances from the pair saw them climb into third. After stiff competition in the fencing bonus round and the swim, the pair lined up for the laser run in sixth place. A composed Varley worked her way back up the field to lead the pack heading into her final lap before handing over to Curry.

Powerful running from the Czech and Hungarian athletes had them pulling ahead, leaving Curry to hold off Turkey’s Bugra Unal to secure the bronze in a nail-biting charge down the finishing straight.

“The exciting thing about pentathlon is that you can look at the names on the start list and out of 14 there’s up to ten that can challenge for a medal and then as the day unfolds you start to see it. We tried to keep consistent throughout and we’re both thrilled with it,” said Curry.

“It’s all about just trying to free the mind basically, and try and just focus on the things you can control, then when I started the final lap it was just like ‘Lets hit the burners and see what happens’. It was really hot and I started to lose a bit of vision. I wanted to do something cool when I crossed the line but I just collapsed into Jess!”

Varley joked, “Watching Sam come down the home straight I was like, ‘please just make it!’ It was really exciting to watch – I trust Sam and I knew he was going to give it everything and that’s all I could ask. We knew it was possible to get a medal on our day, we were confident that we could produce that sort of performance but to go and do it… I’m just really happy. To come home with a medal was exactly what we wanted.”

Over in the badminton competition, the day started with Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith comfortably booking their place in the next round with a third straight win in the group stages of the Mixed Doubles.

Meanwhile, Kirsty Gilmour – who had already reached the Women’s Singles last 16 without dropping a set ahead of Thursday’s play – required a bit of fightback magic after finding herself a set down, and five points adrift midway through the second against stubborn Hungarian opposition in the form of Vivien Sandorhazi. On sealing match point, Gilmour’s racquet was launched into the air in celebration with the comeback complete and a place in the quarter finals secured.

“Yeah, crazy things always happen at European Games because the tensions are very high!” said Gilmour.

“I feel like I was good nervous this morning and last night – I would be more worried if I wasn’t nervous as I like that feeling. Fair play to Vivien [Sandorhazi], she stuck in and just really sent it back, more than I was expecting actually, so I think this is a really good lesson for me to learn in the last sixteen and it’s good to get that kind of lung buster before we get to the fun zone – and we’re in the fun zone now.”

Both British Men’s Double’s pairings; Alexander Dunn and Adam Hall, and Ben Lane and Sean Vendy, progressed into semi-final bouts with assured 2-0 victories, while Julie MacPherson and Ciara Torrance produced some stunning rallies in a 2-1 defeat against their French Women’s Doubles quarter-final counterparts.

And over to the west of Krakow, the canoe slalom programme got underway in style for Team GB with all six kayak athletes – Jonny Dickson, Joe Clarke, Chris Bowers, Kimberley Woods, Mallory Franklin and Phoebe Spicer – progressing through to Saturday’s semi finals.

“I’m pleased with my position,” said Franklin. “I’ve got a lot more confidence after that. There were a few additional nerves at the start-line compared to a normal start-line with it being the European Games. Being at a multisport event is huge, but having the support of Team GB, being in the accommodation and in the Village, is a really good feeling. I feel way more comfortable this time round and I feel like I’ve got a lot of strength and confidence.”

Hear a round up of all the action from Team GB at the European Games so far here, with featured interviews from gold medallists Abbie Brown and Meg Jones – co-captains of the women’s rugby sevens side – taekwondo fighters Jade Jones and Caden Cunningham, BMX rider Kieran Reilly and many more.

With thanks to Team GB