Pillage and Harper through to Szekesfehervar showpiece
Plymouth’s Myles Pillage and Cheltenham’s Jamie Harper both made through to the Men’s final on their Junior World Championships debuts today in sweltering conditions in Szekesfehervar. On a tough day of action, British teammates Bradley Sutton and George Budden missed out on a place in the final 36.
Story of the Day
19-year-olds Myles and Bradley were both placed in qualifying group A, beginning their day in the fencing salle. The young British duo, who both moved to Pentathlon GB’s National Training Centre at the University of Bath last September, performed consistently throughout the discipline with Myles finishing on a level fence of 18 victories, 18 defeats and Brad one hit further back.
The British pair then moved to the pool where they are known to be among the best in the modern pentathlon field. Former Plymouth College student Myles set the standard with a time of 1:58.58, over 2.5 seconds quicker than anyone else on the day. Brad, who used to study at Hartpury College, was just behind with a time of 2:02.35, third quickest in the group. It meant hat Myles moved up to 7th and Brad 12th ahead of the concluding laser run.
With just small gaps separating most of the field and temperatures in Hungary pushing the 40-degree mark, the combined running and shooting phase proved to be a battle of attrition. At the end of the 3200m course, Myles crossed the line 17th with Brad 29th. With the top 15 in each group qualifying automatically followed by the next six highest points scorers, it meant the Plymouth athlete faced a nervous wait. However, once the final results from Group B were in, Myles’ place in Sunday’s final was confirmed.
Included in that Group B were fellow Pentathlon GB athletes Jamie Harper and George Budden. Jamie and George who teamed up to finish 13th in the Men’s relay on Wednesday began their day in the pool with the 200m swim. Both Brits performed strongly with Hampshire’s George recording a time of 2:07.48 and Gloucestershire’s Jamie just behind in 2:10.10. It meant both British athletes were in the middle of the group standings after the opening discipline.
In the fencing salle, 20-year-old Jamie was around the level mark throughout, eventually finishing the discipline with 17 victories and 18 defeats. Meanwhile, 17-year-old George, who is still in the Under 19 age group, battled well, picking up 10 victories and 25 defeats, but more importantly gaining significant experience ahead of the Under 19 European Championships later this month.
It meant that the TASS supported duo headed in the laser run 21st and 33rd with Jamie 12 places ahead of this younger teammate.
A superb effort from University of Bath based Jamie saw him pick up five places in the final discipline to finish the group standings in 16th and qualify for the final. A strong combined run and shoot from Ampfield’s George also saw him pick up places during the 3200m course, crossing the line 30th to mark the end of his debut Junior World Championships
Reflecting on his performance, Jamie commented “I’m so happy my hard work has paid off today!
“Although I didn’t have the best results in each discipline, I dug deep to qualify and can’t wait for the final.”
Meanwhile, Brad commented “I’m frustrated and disappointed not to have made the final at the World Championships after a strong start to the day.
“I lost places in the last discipline due to my inability to deal with the heat today. However, this won’t shadow the highs of this year and I’ll take the positives and come back stronger.”
The next opportunity for Brad to compete will come around quickly as he takes part in the Men’s Relay alongside Myles at the Senior World Championships later this month after finishing as the top Brit in the Junior European Championships in Barcelona.
In Szekesfehervar, tomorrow sees the Women’s final taking place with Kerenza Bryson competing for Pentathlon GB before the Men’s final on Sunday.
Photo taken by Phil Sutton.