Woodbridge misses medals as Fell and Weale state late Olympic claims
NICK Woodbridge just missed out on the medals at the modern pentathlon World Cup final - but his place on Team GB should be all but secure.
CONSISTENT: Great Britain's Nick Woodbridge, third in the 2011 World Cup final in London, settled for fifth this time in Chengdu (Reuters)
Woodbridge is the undisputed British number one and after finishing fifth in Chengdu, he was third last year in London, he again proved his international class.
Beijing Olympian Sam Weale thought his chance of selection had gone after he failed to make the final at the recent World Championships in Rome.
But he finished a spirited seventh in his last chance to stake a claim while world junior champion Jamie Cooke, the frontrunner for the second spot on the Olympic team, was back in a disappointing 19th.
Cooke achieved the Olympic selection standard with his fourth place at last year's European Championships and, unlike Weale, made the final at the recent World Championships.
“This is definitely evidence of a performance improvement we have achieved with the men’s team over the last three or four years, which is great news for the programme,” said British team performance director Jan Bartu.
“If we compare our performances with other nations that are strong in the sport, it gives us a good feeling that we have a competitive edge two and a half months from the Games.”
Olympic silver medallist Heather Fell claimed second in the women's race, finishing 16 seconds behind Lithuania’s Laura Asadauskaite and just ahead of Brazil's Yane Marques.
It means selectors will now have a difficult choice to make with two women's slots to fill on Team GB.
Mhairi Spence is all but guaranteed her place after she won the world title in Rome earlier this month.
Samantha Murray, with a fourth and bronze in World Cups this season, would appear best placed to fill the second position after also claiming third behind Spence at the Worlds, where the highest qualify field of the year was assembled.
Spence and Murray were both absent in Chengdu but Fell's medal - and her previous Olympic experience - might prompt some debate among the selection panel.
In addition, Freyja Prentice has also achieved the required standard with her eighth place at last year's European Championships, although her 2012 form has been disappointing and her hopes of being picked appear to be gone.
“Heather had a smashing combined event – she took a high quality tactical approach and it was a well deserved second place," added Bartu
“It will be a great encouragement for her after the World Championships, when she didn’t achieve her objectives.
“It looks like we’ll have four women on the qualifying list now and they have all done a great job to be there. Hopefully we can now keep the momentum going for the next two and a half months."
British team officials will meet early next month to confirm their selections with the British Olympic Association formally announcing the team on June 8.
© Sportsbeat 2012