Modern pentathlon: Kate French wins World Cup gold & Jess Varley bronze

Kate French
It was Kate French's third World Cup victory in the past three seasons

Britain's Kate French claimed modern pentathlon World Cup gold in Prague, as compatriot Jess Varley took bronze.

The European silver medallist, 28, topped the fencing discipline to take control of the competition.

French, who was fifth at the Rio 2016 Olympics, is eyeing a place at Tokyo 2020 and qualifying opens in seven days.

Meanwhile, Varley, 24, finished with a fine run that moved her into bronze position and her first World Cup medal.

French's confident final shoot ensured she took victory by 14 seconds, in what was the fourth Pentathlon World Cup of the 2019 season.

"I needed a good result, so I'm super pleased," French said.

It was her third World Cup victory in the past three seasons after wins in Cairo in 2017 and Sofia a year to the day ago, in 2018.

Russian World Champion Gulnaz Gubaydullina took silver but there was a fight for the bronze medal spot with a rapid final shoot seeing Varley claim it.

French's victory should secure her a place in the World Cup Grand Final in Tokyo in late June.

The event doubles up as a test event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Although Varley, whose previous best result was seventh, will not compete in the grand final she was delighted with her breakthrough performance.

"I'm absolutely over the moon," she said.

"I've been working for this basically for my whole life and I'm so excited it's finally happened."

The result has put her in contention for the European Championships in Bath in August, which is a crucial event for athletes because the top eight finishers will secure places at next year's Olympics.

The men's final will take place on Sunday with Britons Jamie Cooke, Joe Choong and Tom Toolis all competing.

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