Pentathletes put Ribble Valley on map on international stage

Best swim: Samantha Murray had the quickest 200m freestyle time, but finished 29th in World Cup 3 in Chengdu
Best swim: Samantha Murray had the quickest 200m freestyle time, but finished 29th in World Cup 3 in Chengdu

The Ribble Valey had two representatives on the international stage last week as Samantha Murray and Luke Tasker competed for Great Britain at the Modern Pentathlong World Cup 3 in Chengdu, China.

As Britain’s Kate French achieved the highest Modern Pentathlon World Cup finish of her career to date when she came sixth last Friday, Murray finished 29th, with fellow Team GB athlete Freyja Prentice not taking part in the run/shoot due to an ankle injury.

French and Prentice won 19 bouts fencing bouts apiece to share 12th place with 214 pentathlon points, while Murray won 17 of her 35 fencing contests, putting her in 16th place with 202 points.

Murray clocked the quickest swim time of the day with a 200m freestyle time of 2:11.00 to add 308 points to her total, promoting her to eighth.

French’s 2:21.11 was the 19th fastest of the day, putting her 13th going into the ride, while Prentice’s 2:26.25 saw her drop to 21st.

Murray went clear in the ride, but sustained eight time penalties to give her 292 points, putting her fifth going into the run/shoot.

She started the run/shoot 27 seconds behind Russia’s event leader Alise Fakhrutdinova.

French dropped 12 points from the maximum riding score to go into the run/shoot in 10th, 50 seconds behind the leader, while Prentice’s riding performance – dropping just eight points – pushed her back up the leaderboard into 13th.

Prentice, who had been troubled by an ankle injury in Wednesday’s qualifiers, decided against tackling the run/shoot.

And while Murray’s Chendgu campaign faltered and she dropped down the field, French went on to achieve her highest World Cup finish yet. Her run/shoot time of 13:19.21 was the sixth best of the day.

She crossed the finish line six seconds behind bronze medallist Wanxia Liang, a second behind Hungary’s Sarolta Kovacs and alongside Mina Jeong of South Korea, who just edged fifth.

Qian Chen, China’s world number three, won gold with Poland’s Oktawia Nowacka taking silver.

Meanwhile, Waddington’s Tasker, 20, made his World Cup bow.

He finished 31st in the semi-final A.

He was joint 19th after the fencing, produced the sixth fastest swim of the semi (2:02.92) to go into the run/shoot in 13th, but he dropped down the field.

Semi-final B started in the pool and Tom Toolis’ swim time of 2:04.56 put him eighth. He dropped down to 21st after the fencing and ended the day in the same spot.

And Sam Curry came agonisingly close to clinching a place in the final.

Curry finished 18th in semi-final A and his points total of 1080 was the joint 12th highest among the athletes who didn’t automatically qualify, along with Lukas Kontrimavicius of Lithuania.

But the Lithuanian’s better run/shoot time in semi-final B saw him secure the last spot.