French admits relief as she wins third successive Prague gold
26 May 2019 / 12:43
Modern pentathlete Kate French admitted her relief after claiming gold for the third year in succession on a triumphant day for Great Britain at the World Cup in Prague.
The 28-year-old, a European silver medallist, carried her formidable form from the qualification round into the final as she proved dominant from start to finish.
French topped the fencing discipline to take control of the competition before her confident final shoot ensured she sealed victory by 14 seconds ahead of Gulnaz Gubaydullina of Russia.
And University of Bath-based French, who finished in fifth at the Rio 2016 Olympics, is hopeful the result will secure her place in the World Cup Grand Final in Tokyo in June.
“I am very, very happy,” said French, after her fourth Pentathlon World Cup of the season. “I needed a good result. It has just been a really good day so I’m super pleased.
“Hopefully this means I will be competing at the Pentathlon World Cup Final and I’m really relieved about that and looking forward to it.
“It has been brilliant to have lots of our parents here, including my mum, who has come out. I could hear them all shouting at the finish line.
“It was great to have that support. The first few competitions haven’t gone to plan, so I’m really pleased I have been able to get it right for this one.”
French’s teammate Jessica Varley completed a perfect day for the Brits after making up six places in the laser run to clinch the bronze medal in the Czech capital.
It was Varley’s first World Cup medal and the 24-year-old, whose previous best result was seventh, is now determined to kick on and secure her place at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
“I’m absolutely over the moon,” she said.” I’ve been working for this basically my whole life, and I am so excited it has finally happened.
“This season I have gone from nothing to seventh at World Cup Szekesfehervar and now third here – it has all come together at just the right time.
“Hopefully that will be enough to secure my qualifying spot for Tokyo and I hope to be there.
“I don’t think I realised I was in a podium position until the last run. I had a wobbly shoot in the semi-final and I knew I had to shoot much better, and I’m so happy I did.
“Kate has won, which is absolutely fantastic, and we’ve got our whole team out here and the support is amazing. I couldn’t do it without them.”
Varley’s bronze has put her in contention for the European Championships in Bath in August, which will see the top eight finishers secure places at next year’s Olympics.
PICTURE CREDIT: UIPM