Britains Heather Fell wins individual silver as GB win team gold at Euro Champs
29.06.2009 - Other Sports
eila Gyenesei & Sarolta Kovacs) – 15832 points
Britain’s Heather Fell added the Modern Pentathlon European Championships silver medal to her Olympic silver in Leipzig today (Saturday) – and her performance helped Great Britain win the team gold.
Fell produced an outstanding series in today’s final with her fastest swim of the year, she was the only rider to go clear in the equestrian arena, and then she rounded off the day with a strong run/shoot to secure second place on the podium in Germany.
It was her first individual medal at a senior international event since the new combined run/shoot was introduced to the sport at the beginning of the year.
And Fell, Katy Livingston and Mhairi Spence joined forces to win the team gold for Great Britain ahead of Russia and Hungary.
“It’s been a terrible year, so I was pleased and a bit surprised today,” said Fell, who now has her sights set firmly on the World Championships at Crystal Palace from 13-17 August.
“I’ve been struggling with my fencing this year, but that was positive today and I felt as though it was going in the right direction again.
“I had my best swim of the year, a good ride and the combined event was probably my best one,” she added. “On the last run I thought I could get bronze, so I was really pleased to win silver. There’s still room for improvement though.”
Twenty-six-year-old Fell was pipped to gold by nine seconds by France’s Amelie Caze, the reigning World Champion. Caze had gone into the combined run/shoot with a 34-second advantage over Hungary’s Saralta Kovacs, with Britain’s Katy Livingston in third place and Fell back in sixth.
Fell clawed her way up to second spot with two good runs and shoots but was overtaken by Russia’s Evdokia Gretchichnikova in the final round of shooting.
But Fell used her running strength to overhaul the Russian on the final running leg, although she couldn’t quite close the gap on Caze – who had made sure of gold by hitting five targets from five shots in her final shoot.
Fell’s silver medal winning performance was a repeat of her finish at the Beijing 2008 Olympics as well as the 2007 European Championships and the 2008 World Cup Final.
Livingston had gone into the run/shoot in third place but dropped down the field to 10th after a disappointing second shoot. Spence produced a strong performance to finish 12th. The trio of Fell, Livingston and Spence were the nominated scorers for the team event – and they comfortably won gold. Louise Helyer ended the day in 22nd.
Jan Bartu, Pentathlon GB performance director, said: “This was above my personal expectations today. It reflects the quality of the athletes and the coaching team, who have been very dedicated in working our way through the new system.
“It is also a good step forward for the whole team in the build-up to the World Championships in London in August. They will definitely have gained valuable experience and confidence today. Now we need to remain patient and work hard towards the World Championships.”
Livingston had led the challenge for the Brits early on and was in fourth place after the swim.
Her 21 victories and 14 defeats in the fencing salle earned her 904 points for joint eighth after the first discipline.
Fell and Spence were tied at joint 16th after the fence, both with 18 wins and 17 defeats for 832 points. Helyer’s 13 wins and 22 defeats earned 712 points for joint 26th.
France’s Caze and Russia’s Gretchichnikova shared the lead after the fencing with 26 wins each.
Helyer was the quickest of the Brits in the pool. She clocked 2:13.88 – the fourth best time - for 1196 points, climbing eight places up the rankings to 18th.
Livingston also swam well. Her 2:14.42 was sixth fastest and a personal best, worth 1188 points and enough to push her up from eighth to fourth.
Fell made progress up the field too. Her 2:15.59 was ninth fastest and worth 1176 points, pushing her up to 12th.
Spence’s 2:19.75 earned 1124 points, pushing her up a place to 15th overall.
Caze led the field from Hungary’s Voros and Gretchichnikova.
Fell went clear in the riding arena to climb to sixth, giving her a platform to mount an assault on the medals, while Livingston dropped just 40 points to go into third place. Spence and Helyer also rode well, they both dropped just 60 points from the maximum.
Tomorrow (Sunday) Nick Woodbridge flies the flag for Britain in the men’s final.
Women’s individual results
Gold: Amelie Caze (FRA) - 5652 points
Silver: Heather Fell (GBR) – 5616 points
Bronze: Evdokia Gretchichnikova (RUS) – 5588 points
10th: Katy Livingston (GBR) – 5372 points
12th: Mhairi Spence (GBR – 5328 points
22nd: Louise Helyer (GBR) – 5044 points
Women’s team results
Gold: Great Britain (Heather Fell, Katy Livingston & Mhairi Spence) - 16316 points
Silver: Russia (Evdokia Gretchichnikova, Polina Strutchkova & Ekaterina Khuraskina) – 16120 points
Bronze: Hungary (Zsuzsanna Voros, Leila Gyenesei & Sarolta Kovacs) – 15832 points