Two-time Olympian Woodbridge ready for European challenge

05 July 2014 / 14:43

Nick Woodbridge will make his competitive return at the Modern Pentathlon European Championships in Hungary but he’s playing down expectations as his recovery from injury continues.

Woodbridge, who represented Britain at both the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympics, hasn’t competed in almost a year after being hit with a hip injury ahead of the 2013 World Championships in August.

The 28-year-old battled on though to individual win silver before undergoing surgery in February with his return set to come at the European Championships, which begin next week in Hungary.

Woodbridge is one of four men selected to race individually, joined by Jamie Cooke, Joe Evans and Joe Choong, and he admits competing on the continent will be a good revelation of how fit he actually is.

“This year has really been quite difficult, it’s all been about rehab,” said Woodbridge, who is based at the Pentathlon GB National Training Centre at the University of Bath.

“I’m in quite good shape, but I’m not quite 100 per cent at the moment. It’s a long time since I’ve competed, so it will be good to see where I am fitness-wise.

“It’s a bit of a warm-up for the World Championships in September, then I’ll get in a serious amount of rehab over the winter. I should really see the benefits then.”

The British women that will race individually are 2012 world champion Mhairi Spence, Olympic silver medallist Samantha Murray as well as Kate French and Freyja Prentice.

And Jan Bartu, Pentathlon GB Performance Director, said: “Nick looks good. He’s fit and healthy, but he’s stepping into unknown territory after not competing for a year.

“He needs to get back on the circuit and regain confidence. The semi-final will be crucial for him at the Europeans.

“Joe (Choong) is still a junior and this is first big major senior championships, so it will be interesting to see how he does. Everyone else has been there before, seen it and done it.

“They all push each other in training and that helps them to perform. All of the athletes selected are competitive, but when they get to the championships the first hurdle they have to overcome is making it through the semi-finals.

“You usually have to compete flat out until the end in the semi-finals these days.”

© Sportsbeat 2014