Spence ready to battle for Olympic spot

02 March 2012 / 17:24

Great Britain number one Mhairi Spence is determined not to let pressure get the better of her as she resumes her bid to qualify for the modern pentathlon team at the London Olympics.

The bubbly Scot is ranked fourth in the world but faces a tense few months after missing out on the chance to achieve the qualifying standard last year.

Spence told Press Association Sport: "I had a good start to the season then I had a bad competition at the Europeans. It just didn't work out for a number of reasons. I did feel the pressure and it's something that I've been working on."

With only two places available at the Games for each country, making the team is a huge achievement in itself, and nowhere is the competition fiercer than in Britain where Spence, Beijing silver medallist Heather Fell, Freyja Prentice, Katy Burke, Samantha Murray and Katy Livingston are all in contention.

Spence, Fell and Prentice are undoubtedly the frontrunners, with 21-year-old Prentice in pole position thanks to her eighth place at the European Championships in Medway last summer.

The Kent competition represented the best chance for athletes to make the qualifying standard with eight spots up for grabs, and hopes were high that the British contingent could figure prominently. But in the end it was only Prentice who found anything like her best form, with Fell finishing down in 23rd and a tearful Spence only 33rd.

It was particularly tough on the 26-year-old from Inverness, who had won medals at two World Cups and finished in the top eight in both the World Cup Final and World Championships.

She added: "It's tough to go out and perform well in those circumstances but I've learned a lot from that and hopefully I won't make those mistakes again. Competing is stressful, that's the way sport is, and the idea is to perform on that one day at the Olympics."

Spence, Fell and Prentice will all be in action at the first two World Cups of this season in the US and Brazil over the next two weekends, with Murray making up the team in Charlotte and Livingston the fourth member in Rio.

Rankings are likely to come into play to decide the team for London, with a top-three spot at the World Championships in Rome in May the only chance of earning the Olympic qualifying standard this year.