Spence eighth at World Championships

10th September 2011

Scot Mhairi Spence was the best of the Brits finishing eighth at the Modern Pentathlon World Championships in Moscow today (Saturday).
 
Spence was in the top-five throughout the day, but dropped out of contention in her second visit to the shooting range. However, eighth place was her highest finish yet at a senior World Championships.
 
Team-mate Katy Burke, ranked 27th in the world, finished 10th overall, also the best World Championships finish of her career, while Freyja Prentice finished 16th and Heather Fell 27th.
 
The results means none of the Brits were in the medals today – a podium finish at the World Championships would have achieved the London 2012 Olympic qualifying standard.
 
The GB team, based at the Pentathlon GB High Performance Centre at the University of Bath, were just edged out of the medals in the team competition, finishing fourth.
 
But Spence and Burke’s results were a vast improvement on those at the European Championships at Medway in Kent in July, when they came 33rd and 28th respectively.

Jan Bartu, Pentathlon GB Performance Director, said: “Mhairi and Katy redeemed themselves today after Medway. Eighth today was a good result for Mhairi. She had a good day today.
 
“Finishing in the top-10 in the world is a really good result for Katy Burke too, especially after an average start to the fencing.
 
“I was disappointed that we couldn’t defend third position in the team event to make sure we would go home with a medal,” he added.
 
Spence made the best start of the Brits, finishing fourth in the fencing with 22 victories from her 35 contests to start the day with 928 points.
 
The other Brits didn’t fare so well in the fencing, with Prentice 25th with 15 wins, Burke 29th with 14 wins and Fell 33rd on 12 wins.
 
Latvia’s Elena Rublevska and Evdokia Gretchichnikova of Russia led the way with 25 wins a-piece for 1000 points.
 
Spence climbed a place to third in the swim. Her time of 2:15.71 was the eighth fastest of the day and a long course season’s best worth 1172 pentathlon points.
 
Burke, a strong swimmer, leapt up the field with the fifth fastest time of the day. Her 200m freestyle time of 2:13.06 was also a long course season’s best and propelled her to 17th place overall.
 
Fell’s 2:15.79 was ninth fastest, pushing her to 27th, while Prentice went into the ride in 29th following a swim of 2:22.34.
 
France’s Elodie Clouvel climbed to the top of the leaderboard, with Hungary’s Sarolta Kovacs.
 
Spence maintained her position in the overall top-five in the ride. She had three fences down in the riding arena to add 1140 points to her total and put her fourth going into the run/shoot.
 
That meant she would start the run/shoot 28 seconds behind new competition leader Kovacs, one of only two riders to go clear in the time allowed. Spence also started eight seconds off Gretchichnikova in the bronze medal position.
 
Burke continued her upward momentum. She had just one fence down to climb to 12th overall and started 58 seconds behind Kovacs.
 
Fell, riding a tricky horse, had two fences down and climbed to 22nd, starting a minute and 23 seconds off the lead, while Prentice climbed to 24th overall starting a further two seconds behind Fell.
 
Spence finished as the highest placed of the Brits, but was unable to hold on to her top-five spot in the run/shoot. She dropped down the field in the second shoot, but held on well to eighth in the final 1k run.
 
Burke climbed from 12th to 10th with the 12th fastest run/shoot. Prentice’s time of 11:29 was the sixth quickest of the day and saw her finish 16th, while Fell finished 27th.
 
Gold went to Victoria Tereshuk of Ukraine. The Beijing 2008 Olympic bronze medallist climbed from 10th place going into the run/shoot. Kovacs took silver, pipping Laura Asadauskaite, who had to settle for bronze.
 
Germany, Hungary and Russia took the team gold, silver and bronze.
 
Tomorrow (Sunday) Jamie Cooke and Sam Weale contest the men’s final for GB.
 
Freyja Prentice and Jamie Cooke have already achieved the London 2012 qualification standard, although they are not guaranteed places on the GB team for 2012 as there are further qualification opportunities and only a maximum of two athletes per gender per nation can compete at the Games. 
 
Women’s final individual results:
Gold: Victoria Tereshuk (UKR) – 5544 pts
Silver: Sarolta Kovacs (HUN) – 5512 pts
Bronze: Laura Asadauskaite (LTU) – 5504 pts
8th: Mhairi Spence (GBR) – 5344 pts
10th: Katy Burke (GBR) – 5308 pts
16th: Freyja Prentice (GBR) -  5256 pts
27th: Heather Fell (GBR) -  5148 pts
 
Team results:

Gold: Germany – 16044 pts
Silver: Hungary – 15928 pts
Bronze: Russia – 15788 pts
4th: Great Britain (Heather Fell, Freyja Prentice, Mhairi Spence) – 15748 pts
 

The full GB teams and schedules for the World Championships is:
 
GB team
Women
Freyja Prentice, Mhairi Spence, Heather Fell, Katy Burke
 
Men
Jamie Cooke, Nick Woodbridge, Sam Weale, Rob Flack
 
Schedule
Sunday 11 September: men’s final
Monday 12 September: mixed relay
Tuesday 13 September: women’s relay
Wednesday 14 September: men’s relay