Britain’s Georgina Harland is the new European Modern Pentathlon Champion and has qualified for the Athens Olympics alongside team-mate Kate Allenby, who took bronze at the Syndey Olympics.

Georgina, 25, took her first major international individual title at the competition in Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic. She was a member of the gold medal-winning team at the World Championships in 2000 and won individual bronze in 2001 and 2002.

The sport of modern pentathlon encompasses five disciplines: shooting, fencing, riding, swimming and running.

In the riding phase, competitors are required to jump a course of 12 fences using a borrowed horse, on which they are allowed just 20min warm-up. Penalties are deducted from their overall score for knockdowns and refusals.

“I’m absolutely thrilled,” she says. “I’ve been close before but it all came together for me today. I’ve worked hard for this and am really pleased with the result.”

Britain has a strong record in the sport at top level. Dr Stephanie Cook, who has now retired from the sport to concentrate on medicine, was Olympic Champion in Sydney.

For the full story, including details of an international modern pentathlon tournament taking place in London next summer, check out this week’s Horse & Hound (11 September).

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