Modern Pentathlon: Toolis into European Championship final
PUBLISHED: 11:30 21 July 2018
Romford’s Tom Toolis reached the final of the Modern Pentathlon European Championships in Hungary alongside all of his Great Britain team-mates after a strong qualifying performance.
Toolis, Joe Choong, Sam Curry and Jamie Cooke made it into the men’s final on Sunday, after Sam Murray, Kate French and Jo Muir led the way in the women’s qualifying a day earliier.
After another highly competitive day of action in Szekesfehervar, the laser runs were tense affairs with athletes battling for qualification, but all four British athletes ensured they would be part of Sunday’s showpiece with impressive displays.
Former Coopers pupil Toolis and Cheltenham’s Cooke were in qualifying Group B, starting their campaigns in the pool.
Olympic swim record holder Cooke set the standard once again, clocking a 1:59.83 as he was the only athlete to break the two-minute barrier, but Toolis also enjoyed a good start to proceedings, going out hard over the first 100m to record a time of 2:06.10.
In the fencing hall, both athletes were around the level mark throughout, unable to put together the string of victories that would have propelled them toward the top end of the standings.
As a result, both finished in the mid-pack with Toolis recording 12 victories and 13 defeats from his 25 bouts with Cooke one hit further back.
That meant Cooke was in 12th with Toolis 14th after the opening two disciplines and both athletes were right in the thick of the action to secure an all important top 15 berth after the laser run.
A strong start from 27-year-old Cooke saw him move within the top 10 leaving the shooting range for the second time. From there, the University of Bath-based athlete kept his composure to cross the line in sixth.
Behind him, the final discipline was more tense for Toolis with the St Mary’s University Masters student between 14th and 17th throughout the laser run.
Leaving the range for the final time, the 25-year-old was in 16th and although he couldn’t pick off any of the athletes in front of him, a strong final 800m run from the Brit guaranteed his place in the final as one of the six highest-placed non-automatic qualifiers.
Former Whitgift school duo Choong and Curry were placed together in qualifying group A, beginning their day in the fencing hall.
And it was Rio Olympian Choong who led the British charge, producing some great hits on his way to another superb international fencing score of 17 victories and seven defeats.
It was a more topsy-turvy affair for Curry, but the 24-year-old kept battling to the discipline’s conclusion, a strong finish seeing him fend with a level score of 12 victories and 12 defeats.
In the pool, an impressive performance from Salford’s Curry saw him lead home the second heat in 2:06.47 and Choong, placed in the final heat, swam a controlled race to stop the clock in 2:04.42, giving him a one-second advantage heading into the laser run.
Curry was placed in 11th and well positioned to challenge for a place in the final.
In the laser run, Orpington’s Choong was comfortable throughout, remaining with the leading pack to ensure his place in the final 36.
It was also an impressive performance from Curry in the final discipline with some sharp shooting ensuring he was in the lower echelons on the top 10 for the entire 3200m course. That meant the Brit comfortably finished inside the top 15, qualifying for his second European final in the last three years.