Pentathlon GB yesterday (Tuesday) announced a 10-strong team for the World Championships, including seven athletes for the individual competitions.
Any British athlete winning an individual medal at the World Championships will achieve the London 2012 Olympic qualifying standard – thereafter athletes can only qualify through the Olympic pentathlon world ranking list.
With all seven British athletes featuring in the top-25 in the world, the competition at the World Championships is expected to be intense.
“I think they will be under tremendous pressure at the World Championships,” said Jan Bartu, Pentathlon GB Performance Director. “It looks like it will go down to the wire, but this is the ultimate test for the Olympic Games.
“They need to keep it all together in Rome when they will be competing against other verydetermined athletes who will also feel the World Championships are their last chance to qualify for the Games.”
All four GB women selected for Rome feature in the top-20 in the Olympic pentathlon world ranking list.
Mhairi Spence, who won silver at the opening World Cup of the year in the USA, is the highest ranked Brit in the Olympic pentathlon world ranking list in fifth.
Samantha Murray has stormed up the ranking list to 12th after winning her first World Cup medal, a bronze, in Russia just over a week ago to round off a World Cup campaign that saw her finish fourth and sixth in her other two competitions.
Heather Fell, Beijing 2008 silver medallist and former world number one, is 13th with Freyja Prentice, the only British woman to have achieved the Olympic qualifying standard to date 19th.
Three Brits will contest the men’s competition in Rome. Nick Woodbridge is ninth in the men’s Olympic pentathlon world ranking list. He won bronze at last year’s World Cup Final and has two sixth places finishes in World Cups to his credit this season.
Jamie Cooke, Britain’s World Junior Champion who achieved the Olympic qualifying standard by finishing fourth at last year’s European Championships, is ranking 17th, and Beijing 2008 Olympian Sam Weale, silver medallist at the 2010 European Championships, is 21st in the Olympic pentathlon world ranking.
Rome also provides athletes with an opportunity to score ranking points for the Olympic pentathlon world ranking list. The final opportunity will be at the World Cup Final in Chengdu on 26 and 27 May. The UIPM is due to publish the final Olympic pentathlon world ranking list on 1 June, with the GB pentathlon team announced later that month.
A maximum of two athletes per gender per nation can compete in the pentathlon at the Olympic Games.
So far Jamie Cooke and Freyja Prentice have achieved the London 2012 Olympic qualifying standard by virtue of their performances at last year’s European Championships, but neither are guaranteed places on the team for the Games.
Three British athletes – Katy Burke, Kate French and Katy Livingston – have been selected to contest the women’s team relay at the championships.
GB World Championships Team
- Heather Fell (Tavistock, Devon/Tavistock & Bath)
- Samantha Murray (Clitheroe, Lancs/Bath)
- Freyja Prentice (Inverurie near Aberdeen/Bath)
- Mhairi Spence (Farr, Inverness/Bath)
- Jamie Cooke (Cheltenham/Bath)
- Sam Weale (East Coker near Yeovil/Bath)
- Nick Woodbridge (Telford/Bath)
Women’s team relay
- Katy Burke (Cleveleys, Lancs/Bath)
- Kate French (Gravesend/Bath)
- Katy Livingston (Redcar/Bath)