June 27 - Britain’s Heather Fell (pictured) won a silver medal in the Modern Pentathlon European Championships silver medal in Leipzig today and helped Britain win the team gold medals.
Fell, a 26-year-old from Devon, produced an outstanding series in today’s final with her fastest swim of the year, she was the only rider to go clear in the equestrian arena, and then she rounded off the day with a strong run/shoot to secure second place on the podium in Germany.
It was her first individual medal at a senior international event since the new combined run/shoot was introduced to the sport at the beginning of the year.
Fell, Katy Livingston and Mhairi Spence joined forces to win the team gold for Britain ahead of Russia and Hungary.
Fell said: “It’s been a terrible year, so I was pleased and a bit surprised today.
“I’ve been struggling with my fencing this year, but that was positive today and I felt as though it was going in the right direction again.
“I had my best swim of the year, a good ride and the combined event was probably my best one.
"On the last run I thought I could get bronze, so I was really pleased to win silver.
"There’s still room for improvement though.”
Fell was pipped to gold by nine seconds by France’s Amelie Caze, the reigning World champion.
Caze had gone into the combined run/shoot with a 34-second advantage over Hungary’s Saralta Kovacs, with Britain’s Katy Livingston in third place and Fell back in sixth.
Fell clawed her way up to second spot with two good runs and shoots but was overtaken by Russia’s Evdokia Gretchichnikova in the final round of shooting.
But Fell used her running strength to overhaul the Russian on the final running leg, although she couldn’t quite close the gap on Caze, who had made sure of gold by hitting five targets from five shots in her final shoot.
Fell’s silver medal winning performance was a repeat of her finish at the Beijing 2008 Olympics as well as the 2007 European Championships and the 2008 World Cup Final.
Livingston had gone into the run/shoot in third place but dropped down the field to 10th after a disappointing second shoot. Spence produced a strong performance to finish 12th.
The trio of Fell, Livingston (pictured) and Spence were the nominated scorers for the team event – and they comfortably won gold.
Louise Helyer ended the day in 22nd.
Jan Bartu, Pentathlon GB performance director, said: “This was above my personal expectations today.
"It reflects the quality of the athletes and the coaching team, who have been very dedicated in working our way through the new system.
“It is also a good step forward for the whole team in the build-up to the World Championships in London in August. They will definitely have gained valuable experience and confidence today.
"Now we need to remain patient and work hard towards the World Championships.”
The World Championships takes place at Crystal Palace between August 13 and 17.
Livingston had led the challenge for the Britons early on and was in fourth place after the swim.
Her 21 victories and 14 defeats in the fencing salle earned her 904 points for joint eighth after the first discipline.
Fell and Spence were tied at joint 16th after the fence, both with 18 wins and 17 defeats for 832 points. Helyer’s 13 wins and 22 defeats earned 712 points for joint 26th.
Caze and Gretchichnikova shared the lead after the fencing with 26 wins each.
Helyer was the quickest of the Britons in the pool.
She clocked 2min 13.88sec – the fourth best time - for 1,196 points, climbing eight places up the rankings to 18th.
Livingston also swam well. Her 2:14.42 was sixth fastest and a personal best, worth 1,188 points and enough to push her up from eighth to fourth.
Fell made progress up the field too.
Her 2:15.59 was ninth fastest and worth 1,176 points, pushing her up to 12th.
Spence’s 2:19.75 earned 1124 points, pushing her up a place to 15th overall.
Caze led the field from Voros and Gretchichnikova.
Fell went clear in the riding arena to climb to sixth, giving her a platform to mount an assault on the medals, while Livingston dropped just 40 points to go into third place.
Spence and Helyer also rode well, they both dropped just 60 points from the maximum.
Nick Woodbridge flies the flag for Britain in the men’s final tomorrow.