Kate French won World Cup gold in Great Britain’s first modern pentathlon outing in almost 14 months with a world record-breaking performance in Budapest.
The Rio 2016 Olympian registered 31 fencing victories and just four defeats to go where no modern pentathlete has gone before in the hall, the highlight of a stunning display in Hungary.
Familiar company joined her on the podium with teammate Jo Muir coming home for silver and back-to-back World Cup medals.
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The impressive British performances didn’t end there with Francesca Summers also securing a top-six finish on her return to competitive action.
"I can't believe it," said French on the world record. "I was stresssing a little bit in the last few bouts but I managed to hold it together.
"I wasn't very happy with my semi-final performance so I'm glad I was able to turn it around.
"I also messed up a little in riding but I turned it around in the end.
"I was secretly hoping that my team-mates would not be far away and it was great to see Jo cross the line behind me and then Francesca finished sixth, so it's been an amazing day."
All three enjoyed a solid if not spectacular opening to the multi-discipline competition, with Muir the leading Brit having produced the seventh-best performance in the swimming pool.
French was 16th with one fifth of the competition complete but found herself top of the standings one event later – and in record-breaking fashion, too.
Nobody had registered more than 30 victories in a women’s modern pentathlon World Cup with the 30-year-old making up for lost time following the coronavirus pandemic.
The beauty of the pentathlon is that no race is won or lost in one individual event. And French found that out very quickly, losing ground with two refusals mid-round and subsequent time penalties during the ride element of the day.
Despite dropping points, the Brit’s performances earlier in proceedings left her with time in hand on the laser run.
And she made the most of the advantage in fine style, stopping the clock in 12:08.08 after finding her range in front of the targets.
Muir’s accuracy on the range was equally impressive, moving from fourth to claim the silver medal while Summers dug deep to finish sixth having started the final event in 11th position.
"Honestly, it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions," said Tokyo hopeful Muir.
"Today has been really hard, whilst we’ve been training really hard, we haven’t had access to any competition or been to any training camps, so it’s been really difficult.
"I’m just so thrilled with today’s result."
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