After three long, hard and focused weeks of training at altitude, I returned home and had a few days to pack my kit and make my final preparations before the world championships.
My competition began on Wednesday with a tough semi-final qualification round: we fence, swim and combine event on this day. Here I had to finish in the top eight to secure my place. I fenced very well and swam a reasonable time comfortably therefore went into the combined run/shoot in first position. I held this lead and won my qualification. A positive start.
On Friday, my alarm went at 6am, the final day had arrived. I struggled with my fencing in the final, the first half of my 35 rounds were very challenging and I was not controlling my fight well enough to gain confident hits. After the half way point, I had gained some confidence in my movement and tactical approach. I started hitting and clawed my way back up the field. I won 18 out of 34 fights. One competitor retired due to injury and I had a double defeat in another round (meaning no one scored a hit in the one minute therefore we both get a defeat). This put me in 14th overall.
I had some time to collect myself, eat, drink and relax before the swim. The fencing discipline is always emotionally and psychologically fatiguing. So, it’s really important for me to keep fuelling and have some quiet time in-between events.
I felt ready as I got onto the blocks for my 200m swim. My first 100m felt comfortable and in control. Then I tried to pick up my pace and give everything for my last 100m. I swam a p.b and a new Modern Pentathlon World Record with a 2.03,8. I was delighted. This strong swim put me in 2nd place overall.
My horse for the show jumping event was called Saladyn. A 16.2, bay, gelding, forward going and an excellent jumper. We warmed up well together, despite a stray dog running into the collecting ring and chasing all the horses, and a loose horse galloping free across the arena… not exactly what you need, but we got through it.
Together we cleared all twelve obstacles without any jumping penalties. I incurred 6 time faults, which I wasn’t bothered about because if I had gone faster I would have risked knocking some poles. I was really pleased with my ride and so grateful for Saladyn. I was now in 3rd place overall and 16 seconds from the leader.
I took some time to relax, stretch and hydrate before my final event of the day: the combined run/shoot- 5 shots in the black with an air pistol on a ten metre range followed by 800m run, four times through- so 3200m in total and four shoots.
I approached the start line focused and pretty composed; I’m usually very nervous before the shoot and therefore really struggle to keep my sights together. I hit 6 out of 5 shots for my first shoot and left the range in 2nd place. By the second shoot, I left the range with the leader Sarolta Kovacs of Hungry but ran away from Kovacs over the 800m. The following two shoots and two 800m, I had Chen Qian of China about eight seconds behind me, however, my shoot and run remained strong and I held my lead. Running into the closing straight, I had the gold medal in front of me, my running felt great and I didn’t have to work too hard as I had such a lead on the Chinese athlete.
Taking the ribbon and becoming World Champion felt incredible. Wow- a title- at last! It had been a long day and I had felt every moment of pressure, nerves and anxiety. Yet I kept going and focused. My hard work and determination paid off.
My coach, Istvan, and I after the awards ceremony; I’m so grateful for his support and guidance.
This was the final competition of my 2014 season. Now I’m on a break and enjoying putting my feet up!
I would like to say thank you to Moving Comfort and Brooks for their support. I love training and competing in the range and am really proud to be an ambassador.