UK

Tokyo Olympics: Team GB’s Kate French wins sensational GOLD in the women’s modern pentathlon

Team GB’s Kate French wins GOLD in the women’s modern pentathlon after stunning performance in the laser run sees her dominate for Britain’s first victory in event since Sydney 2000

British modern pentathlete Kate French secured a superb gold today, keeping up our women’s incredible record in arguably the most demanding competition of the Olympics.

French was fourth heading into the final – which meant she started 15 seconds behind her main rival. But she produced an exhilarating combination of running and shooting accuracy to win the ‘laser race’ finale by a full 16 seconds. 

It is a first Olympic medal for French, 30, who had suggested she might after these Olympics, because the OC insists on changing the way the competition is run. She may rethink now.

Kate French won a sensational gold medal for Team GB in the women’s modern pentathlon

An exhilarating combination of running and shooting gave her victory by a full 16 seconds

An exhilarating combination of running and shooting gave her victory by a full 16 seconds

It also keeps up GB’s amazing record in this competition. Only one – at Rio in 2016 – has the nation’s women not made the podium. The men have never medalled in it.

The final run entails completing four circuits of an 800m course which meanders around a mainly grass track – but breaking early in each lap to take aim at a target. Every shooting challenge creates potential huge jeopardy if the athlete cannot hit the target five times.

But French outshot all her rivals. She took the lead early on and extended it with each shooting obstacle to lead the way down the home straight with no one else in sight.

French, who was eighth overnight after a five-hour fencing section that seemed to be feat of endurance, rather than swordwork.

The 30-year-old won her swimming heat earlier in the day to set up her hopes of a medal

The 30-year-old won her swimming heat earlier in the day to set up her hopes of a medal

She set a personal best of in the 200m freestyle heat which she won in the pool set up on the pitch where Britain’s rugby sevens women’s team were doing their stuff just a week ago.

But French’s pre-Olympics performances had put her in the fourth of the six heats against a less competitive field. The later heats were faster so she sat eighth heading into a meaningless ‘bonus fencing’ round – introduced so that the Olympic tournament could display all five disciplines in one.

It’s the show-jumping element of this competition which can bring years of preparation to a dramatic halt. The riders have only 20 minutes to get to know the horses before competition. One rider has even tried blowing up his horse’s nostrils in a bizarre form of ‘horse-whispering.’

The German, Annika Schleu, who led the competition ahead of the showjumping had a calamity early in her circuit of the fences, after her horse first refused and then hit a fence. 

The British athlete went into the laser run in fifth place after going clear in the showjumping

The British athlete went into the laser run in fifth place after going clear in the showjumping 

Germany's Annika Schleu led the competition going into the showjumping but had a disaster

Germany’s Annika Schleu led the competition going into the showjumping but had a disaster

Her horse Saint Boy first refused and then hit a fence as her Olympic dreams cruelly fell apart

Her horse Saint Boy first refused and then hit a fence as her Olympic dreams cruelly fell apart

It was generally carnage on the jumps, with Russian Gulnaz Gubaydullina who’s set an Olympic record in the swimming, failing to finish the course, along with Marie Oteija. 

Japan and Kazhakstan riders both found themselves thrown to the floor and there were briefly concerns for Brazil’s Marie Ieda Guimaraes, who was motionless on the turf for a short time.

French’s jumped her round clear on Clintino. She cleared all the hurdles, incurring a fractional time penalty to hand Russian Uliana Batashove a 15-second lead that she had wiped out by the second lap. 

Korean Kim-Se-hee and Hungarian Sarolta Kovacs, starting out the final run second and third respectively, looked dangers. But French swept them away. 

French swept away all those behind her and her rivals could not get close to her in the laser run

French swept away all those behind her and her rivals could not get close to her in the laser run

Advertisement


Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button