ALLENBY IS SHOOTING FOR GOLD MEDAL
July 27, 2004
Allenby, who was guest of honour at the Wokingham District Sports awards last November, will be trying to become the third British woman in the last five decades to follow-up an individual medal at back-to-back Olympics after her bronze medal in Sydney four years ago. And the prospects look good for Allenby, runner-up in the 2004 World Championship, though the 30-year-old is not complacent. Allenby told the Daily Express: "It would be very easy for me to go down there and think ‘Well I won a medal last time, so I should do this time' But you've got to have enough respect for your opponents. You take things from it for sure, but you have to bottle it put it away and focus."
In Sydney, the modern pentathlon was fought over a 13-hour period but it has been reduced to eight for Athens. First up is shooting, consisting of 20 shots at a target 10 metres away using a 4.5mm calibre air pistol. Then comes fencing, the 200m freestyle swim before showjumping 12 fences on a horse drawn from a ballot. Competitors then run a 3,000m cross-country race in an event designed for the Games as a test of the
‘complete athlete'. The pentathlon starts at 10am, finishing at 6pm and is not for the faint hearted. The lack of media coverage is surprising in a sport which Britain's women have excelled. Allenby and Stephanie Cook were major contributors to the nation's best medal haul for 80 years at the last Olympics as they picked up bronze and gold respectively. Allenby, who trained at the Centre of Excellence in Arborfield in her early years before its closure, will this time have World number one Georgina Harland backing Great Britain's cause in the Greek capital as she competes in her first Olympics.
Allenby said: "For us it's going to come down to who gets it right on the day. "It's not a competition between Georgia and me. You couldn't say that either of us would be favourites over the other, but to us it doesn't matter who comes out on top as long as we beat the rest of the world." It will be a gruelling test of nerve, stamina and determination. Terry Bunyard, chairman for the cultural commission of the international governing body of modern pentathlon believes she has the experience to succeed. Bunyard, who lives in Hurst, has known Allenby since she was a teenager and told Times Sport: "Pentathlon is one of those sports which you improve on with age," he said. "Kate's skills have improved and she'll rely heavily on her fencing, riding and swimming. "She's got a very good chance of great success." Allenby joins Harland and first Team GB reserve Jo Clark, in the French Pyrenees, before flying to the Olympics village, three days prior to the
competition on August 27.