LYDGATE’S Olivia Green last week made her full international debut for the Great Britain modern pentathlon team in Hungary.
The 19-year-old, part of a 12-strong GB line-up taking part in the Peridot Budapest Indoor Competition, qualified for the final and eventually finished 31st.
Olivia, Great Britain’s youngest competitor, would have had a higher place but for a disaster in the horse riding where she did not finish.
In the final, Olivia was 15th in the swimming, 31st in fencing and 12th in the laser run.
The competition marked the start of an important year for GB’s modern pentathletes, including a home European championships in August and world championships which will be held in Budapest in September.
Olivia, one of two teenagers in the inexperienced British women’s team, was selected after finishing sixth in the year’s opening Pentathlon GB national ranking competition at Bath.
Dad Chris said: “Olivia didn’t expect to be selected and only did so after finishing sixth in the national ranking tournament which was a surprise.
“It was a very big jump from her last competition which was Under-19s to the seniors on the international circuit.
“Olivia was also the youngest on the GB team and she didn’t have the level of experience that others had.
“To make the final was a bonus in her first senior international and would have finished higher but for the riding which was also a problem for others. The weather had been bad so the horses hadn’t been out much so were very fresh which made them difficult to ride.”
Olivia moved to Pentathlon GB’s National Training Centre at the University of Bath in September having completed her ‘A’ Levels at Hulme Grammar.
She is no stranger to the international circuit and has top seven finishes at both the U19 world and U19 European championships under her belt. However, those both came in the modern Tetrathlon format.
Olivia, who is studying for a degree in sports science and exercise, has made great strides since becoming a full-time athlete at the University of Bath.
And the improvement was rewarded with sixth place in the national ranking tournament in which was also the second leading junior for Under-23s.
The competition was won by Rio Olympian Kate French, who scored 1,379 points, but sixth-placed Olivia was only 52 points behind.
Olivia was seventh in the swimming, eighth in fencing, had the second quickest laser run time in her strongest discipline and was 19th in horse riding.
Chris said his daughter was “very happy and delighted” with her performance in the first national ranking tournament of the year but believes she can do even better.
He explained: “She was steady and had her personal best time by 16 seconds in the running and shooting and the time of 12min 29sec was the second fastest on the day.
“There was not much separating the top six and Olivia said there is still room for improvement. She still believes she can do better across the board.”
Chris added Olivia has benefitted from full-time training as nobody expected her to finish so highly in the national ranking tournament.
He continued: “The amount of time spent training has helped. For example, she fences four times a week at Bath whereas before she went to university it was once or twice.
“The infrastructure and support at Bath is much better than Olivia has had before and if she does well will be looking to be selected for more senior teams, though she will still be eligible for U23 competitions for a number of years.”
The second Pentathlon GB National Ranking Competition of the year takes place on Saturday, February 9, also at the University of Bath and West Wiltshire Equestrian Centre. The opening World Cup of the season in Cairo then follows at the end of February as the competition season steps up.
• The National Lottery funded Europeans, dubbed Gladiators Return, will see the best modern pentathletes from across Europe descend on the Roman Spa town from August 6-11. As well as continental crowns, Tokyo Olympic qualifying places will be up for grabs making it one of the most important events of the season. Tickets for the Championships will go on general sale soon with more information available at: www.pentathlongb.org/euros2019