DEFENDING champion Mhairi Spence kept her hopes of retaining her title alive with a strong qualifying performance at the Modern Pentathlon World Championships in Chinese Taipei.
The Scot, who achieved the best result of her career by winning the world title in Rome last year, came fourth in her heat to comfortably progress to the final in Kaohsiung.
Olympic silver medallist Samantha Murray, Freyja Prentice and Kate French finished outside the top 12 who qualify automatically for the final but all scored highly enough to ultimately make it there.
In the men’s semi-finals, athletes had to finish in the top eight in their heat to qualify automatically and Nick Woodbridge and Jamie Cooke achieved just that. Teenager Joe Evans and Sam Weale missed out, though, with the latter’s chances hurt by a broken pistol.
The athletes also had to cope with bad weather, with the schedule changed because of worries over a typhoon, and the women will have to compete for three days in succession.
Jan Bartu, Pentathlon GB performance director, said: “It wasn’t an easy competition for the girls but all four got through, which is encouraging. It also means we’re in a good position to fight in the team competition.”