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Pentathlon-World Cup bronze for Fell
And British team-mates Mhairi Spence and Georgina Harland produced their best World Cup finishes of the year, coming fourth and sixth respectively in Kladno.
Fell added bronze in round five of the 2008 World Cup today to the gold she won at Millfield, Somerset in round three in March. It was the third World Cup medal of her modern pentathlon career.
The 25-year-old Devon athlete went into the final discipline, the 3km run, in fifth place some 47 seconds behind the leader, Aya Medany from Egypt. She climbed a place and then overtook Spence at the 2km-mark, finishing in 10: 17.39 to take bronze.
Harland, Britain’s Athens 2004 Olympic gold medallist, produced a scintillating run, climbing from 15th to sixth, crossing the line in 10:09.24, the fourth fastest time of the day. There was disappointment for Katy Livingston, who finished 29th.
But overall it was a terrific result for the Brits ahead of the World Championships in Hungary in two weeks time – when they will go head to head at the final qualifier for the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
A delighted Fell said: “My fencing has been improving and I set personal bests in the swim and the run today, so I’m very pleased.
“It makes me slightly more relaxed going to the World Championships,” she added. “I know I’m not yet safe for the Olympics, but I think this performance means I’m a bit safer than I was.”
Jan Bartu, GB performance director, said: “If athletes are serious about going to the Olympics, they need to be up to this standard. Having three in the top six today proved that they are. It’s a good sign for the British team before the World Championships.
“Heather did a really good job today and once again demonstrated the improvement she has achieved in the last couple of years.”
It was Spence that set the early pace among the pace among the Brits. She shot 180 from a possible 200 in the 10m air pistol shoot for 1096 modern pentathlon points and 13th place.
Fell was just behind her in 16th having shot 179, while Harland was 29th with 170 and Livingston 33rd with 166 points.
Spence fencing well, with 23 wins and only 12 defeats she netted 952 points to climb to fourth overall. Fell’s 18 wins put her up to joint 14th, with Harland’s 20 victories pushing her up the field to 18th. Livingston climbed to 30th.
Spence kept up the pressure in the swim – her time of 2:15.09 was ninth fastest, earning 1300 points.
But Fell was the pick of the Brits in the pool – her time of 2:09.12 was third quickest and a personal best, earning 1372 points. Harland clocked 2:16.25 (1288 points) and Livingston 2:17.77 (1268 points).
In the penultimate discipline, the show jumping, Spence produced a clear round within the allowed time to pocket 1200 points, putting her into third place going into the run.
Fell and Harland both had just one fence down in the equestrian arena. That put Fell into fifth spot on 4436 points, while Harland went into the run in 15th with 4316 points. Livingston, meanwhile, was in 27th on 4040 points.
Gold: Aya Medany (EGY) 5808 points
Silver: Evdokia Gretchichnikova (RUS) 5748 points
Bronze: Heather Fell (GBR) 5688 points
4th: Mhairi Spence (GBR) 5644 points
6th: Georgina Harland (GBR) 5600 points
29th Katy Livingston (GBR) 5212 points
Britain’s Katy Livingston and Heather Fell have already achieved the Olympic qualifying standard by virtue of top-eight finishes at last year’s European Championships. A further qualifying opportunity is at the World Championships in Hungary at the end of May.