By Mike Rowbottom

Freyja_Prentice_runningApril 16 - Freyja Prentice won the first modern pentathlon World Cup medal of her career today when she took bronze at Sassari in Italy despite having had her preparations undermined by a succession of chest infections.

It was also the first occasion on which Prentice had used the laser pistol in major competition, something she had found hard to adjust to in the limited time she had had to practice for it.

The result means the 20-year-old from Aberdeen continued her impressive record of finishing in the top-10 in each of the six rounds of the World Cup in which she has competed to date.

Her previous best was a fifth place at the Cairo World Cup in March last year.

Prentice had performed well across the disciplines in today's final at the second World Cup of the year, but still had to climb from 10th place going into the run/shoot to achieve a podium finish.

She said: "It was so close today.

"I just decided I had to focus on myself.

"It's my first World Cup medal today and I just wanted it so badly."

Prentice became the second British woman to win a World Cup medal this year following Mhairi Spence's silver at the opening World Cup in the United States in February.

Prentice missed that competition with an earlier chest infection.

Spence ended the day in 16th place with Beijing 2008 Olympian Katy Livingston finishing 18th.

Jan Bartu, Pentathlon GB Performance Director, said: "They all fought well today, but it was a fantastic step up for Freyja.

"This shows the depth we have within the British team.

"But wherever we are at this point, there is still another step up to the top."

Prentice won 25 of her 35 fencing bouts to score 1000 pentathlon points.

Her performance was only bettered by Egypt's y Aya Medanwith 26 victories.

Spence and Livingston were just outside the top-10. Spence's 20 wins were worth 880 points putting her joint 11th, while Livingston's 18 wins earned 832 pentathlon points for joint 15th place.

Prentice remained the top Briton after the swim, but dropped a place down the overall rankings to third.

She clocked a 200 metres freestyle time of 2min 20.21sec to add 1120 points to her overall score.

Spence and Livingston both climbed four places up the leaderboard.

Spence's time of 2:14.90 was her best time of the year.

It was the 13th fastest overall and added 1184 points to her total to push her up to seventh overall.

Livingston was the quickest of the Britons. Her time of 2:14.20 was the 11th fastest time in the pool.

It added 1192 points to her total and saw her climb to 11th overall going into the ride.

Medany continued to lead the field, with Poland's Joanna Gomolinska in second spot.

But it was Spence who led the British challenge after the ride.

She was one of nine athletes to have a clear round within the allotted time to score the perfect 1200 pentathlon points in the riding arena.

That saw her move to fourth place overall, 40 points – or 10 seconds behind the new leader, Gomolinska going into the run/shoot.

Prentice meanwhile dropped 124 points from the maximum in the ride to slip down the field to 10th overall, starting the run/shoot 27 seconds behind the leader.

Livingston, started the run/shoot in 16th, 42 seconds behind Gomolinska, after taking 1112 pentathlon points from the ride on a tricky horse.

It looked like being a close finish to the second World Cup of the year, with the top-23 of the 36 finalists separated by just a minute going into the run/shoot.

Prentice had climbed to fifth place halfway round the first run, but Spence dropped out of contention for the medals after the second shoot.

Prentice arrived at the range in fifth place for the third and final shoot but got away in third and held on to her place to take a well earned first World Cup medal of her career.

Her time of 11:56.08 was the seventh fastest run/shoot of the day.

Gold went to Russia's Donata Rimsaite, who climbed from sixth going into the run/shoot, while Anastasiya Prokopenko of Belarus worked her way from 19th to take silver.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]