British trio through to Modern Pentathlon World Cup final in California
Three British men will contest the final of the opening Modern Pentathlon World Cup of the year in the USA tomorrow after Jamie Cooke, Sam Curry and Joe Evans all progressed from the qualifiers.
But there was disappointment for Tom Toolis, who was just edged out of a final berth at his first World Cup.
The format for qualifying for the finals has changed this year, with the top-eight from each of the three heats progressing, along with the next 12 highest points scorers – in the past the top-12 in each heat have gone through automatically.
Curry and Evans - both aged 19 and competing at their first World Cups at the competition in Palm Springs, California - came eighth and tenth respectively in qualifier A to go through to the final.
Cooke, Britain’s 2011 world junior champion, qualified in seventh from heat B but, although he came 12th in the same heat, the points total achieved by 20-year-old Toolis saw him just edged out of the final.
The quartet are all based at the Pentathlon GB High Performance Centre at the University of Bath, where Curry, Evans and Toolis are all students.
Performance director Jan Bartu said: “It's been an encouraging start to the first World Cup for the whole team in the beginning of the new Olympic cycle.
“I've been particularly impressed by the performances of Sam Curry and Joe Evans in the fencing. They took no notice about world champions or accomplished athletes. They were very good and it was refreshing to see.
“Jamie Cooke fought back after the fencing. It wasn’t a particularly good semi for him but hopefully he will take the opportunity in the final to rectify what went wrong.
“Tom Toolis narrowly missed qualification into the final by one position. There's room for improvement in his performance.
”Overall, it was a very positive day and I hope the girls follow suit in their heats.”
In qualifier A, Curry was joint second after the fencing with 17 wins from 24 bouts with Evans 11th on 12 wins. Curry’s time of 2mins 8.99secs was the ninth best in the group in the pool, while Evans went quickest with 2:01.77.
Curry made sure of a place in the final with a combined run/shoot time of 12.14.25, while Evans’ 11:59.32 was eighth fastest and enough for him to progress.
Group B started in the pool, where Cooke again set the pace with a time of 1:59.12. Toolis clocked 2:05.39, the fifth fastest time in the group. Cooke won nine of his 24 fencing bouts, with Toolis securing 13 wins.
Cooke’s combined event time of 11:46.03 was third fastest in the heat and saw him climb from 15th overall to seventh to progress to the final. Toolis’ 12:24.76 put him 12th overall – a finish that would have seen him progress in the old qualifying system.
Later today the GB women’s quartet of Katy Burke, Heather Fell, Kate French and Jo Muir go into action at their heats.
Eighteen-year-old Muir said she’s looking forward to contesting her first World Cup.
“I'm so excited to be competing, I just want to get it done,” she said.
“I don't know what to expect. I've only done one senior competition before and I ended up with zero points on the ride. I'd be so happy to make the final but I don't know if that's too much to expect.”
French added: “I've been training well. It's the first competition of the season and it's a big step up from junior competitions. I just hope to get into the final and then I'll go from there.”
The British team train at the Pentathlon GB High Performance Centre at the University of Bath.