British women prepare for World Cup Final
The British team will arrive at the Modern Pentathlon World Cup Final in London this weekend with a team of three women who all feature in the top-10 in the world rankings.
Beijing 2008 Olympic silver medallist Heather Fell, currently ranked seventh in the world, is joined by Mhairi Spence, ranked ninth, and Freyja Prentice, who is 10th in the senior world rankings. Twenty one-year-old Prentice also tops the junior world rankings.
The World Cup Final is the first opportunity for British pentathletes to achieve a qualification place for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The women go into action on Sunday (10 July) following the men’s competition tomorrow (Saturday). The winner of both competitions achieve the 2012 qualification standard.
The World Cup Final will be followed three weeks later by the European Championships at Medway in Kent, where the top-eight achieve the qualifying standard.
Heather Fell, a former world number one and 2003 world junior champion, said her main target this year is the Europeans – but she’s looking forward to compete at the Olympic venue at Greenwich Park.
The 28-year-old from Devon won silver at the 2008 World Cup Final and also won silver in the fourth round of the 2011 World Cup in China in May.
She said: “It’s going to be a great event. Because it’s a straight final it will be a bit different from most events, but it’s going to be fun competing at the Olympic venue.”
Mhairi Spence, originally from Farr near Inverness but now training at the Pentathlon GB High Performance Centre at the University of Bath, has already won two medals on the World Cup circuit this season, taking silver in the USA in February and bronze in Hungary in May.
“I’m really looking forward to it, I’m sure it will be fun,” she said. “I want to have a good solid all-round day and that will put me in the right place.
“I’d be happy with a top-six finish. That’s always my base. There’s no point in setting your sights lower, but getting on the podium at a pentathlon is no mean feat.”
Freyja Prentice, who is currently combining training at Bath with studying for a Biology degree at the University of Bath, won her first World Cup medal this year when she took bronze in Italy in April. She also won silver at last year’s World Junior Championships.
“I’m very excited about competing here,” she said.
“I want to do better than I did last year, which means finishing higher than 12th. I’ll be happy if I can put together five good events, and if I do that, I’d hope to be in the top-12.”
Jan Bartu, Pentathlon GB Performance Director, said: “We’ve just returned from training overseas where they’ve been working really, really hard.
“The World Cup Final is a very special and prestigious event,” he added. “It’s a pre-Olympic competition and it’s very important for us to get a feeling of what Greenwich Park is going to be like next year.
“It would be fantastic to see a Briton finish in the top position, but there’s also a bigger picture with the European Championships and the World Championships later in the year.”
The 36-strong field for the women’s competition includes all three of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games medallists – Germany’s Lena Schoneborn, who won gold, GB’s Heather Fell, and Victoria Tereshuk of Ukraine.
Hungary’s Sarolta Kovacs, who struck gold at last year’s World Junior Championships, also competes, but reigning World Champion Amelie Caze of France misses out through injury.
Schedule for women’s competition on Sunday 10 July 2011
(may be subject to change)
07.55: fencing – Crystal Palace
11.25: swimming – Crystal Palace
13.50: riding – Greenwich Park
17.10: run/shoot – Greenwich Park
17.50: medal ceremony – Greenwich Park