Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pentathletes primed for Euro test

Great Britain's women will kick off the modern pentathlon European Championship in Germany on Thursday aiming to add to a proud record in the competition.

Britain's women claimed three medals in 2006 and 2007, before a barren return ahead of the Olympics 12 months ago.

The team of Katy Livingston, Mhairi Spence, Louise Helyer and Heather Fell go into qualifying on Thursday.

The men's quartet of Sam Weale, Gareth Evans, Nick Woodbridge and Russell North start competing on Friday.

After the opening two days of qualifying in Leipzig, the women's final takes place on Saturday with the men chasing medals on Sunday.

The results of those events go towards determining the medals in the team competition, before the women compete in the relay on Monday and the men round off six days of competition on Tuesday with their relay event, in which Lee Ormerod will also compete.

2008 No medals
2007 Three medals
One gold (women's relay) & two silver (Heather Fell & women's team event)
2006 Three medals
One gold (women's team event), one silver (women's relay) & one bronze (Mhairi Spence)

Ormerod is one of three British debutants in Leipzig along with North and Evans.

"There's been a month between the last World Cup and the European Championships so this will also be a benchmarking competition for us leading up to the World Championships," said Jan Bartu, Britain's team performance director.

Bartu has already conceded that the priority for his team this season is success in the World Championships which take place on home soil at Crystal Palace from 13-17 August.

But Britain's women will be keen to match the European success they enjoyed in 2006 and 2007 when they picked up three medals in each campaign, including an individual bronze for Spence in 2006 and silver for Fell in 2007.

Fell, who won silver at the 2008 Olympics, finished fifth a year ago in Moscow behind Ukraine's Viktoriya Tereschuk.

Russia's Andrei Moiseev won the men's individual title before going on to take gold at the Olympics.

Spence was Britain's leading female in the World Cup in 11th place, with Livingston and Fell also finishing inside the top 20.

Weale led the British challenge in the men's competition in eighth spot.

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