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Silver consolation as battling Harland leaves too much to doposted by Dominic Mahony on19-11-2006

Georgina Harland, Britain's bronze medallist from the Athens Olympic Games in 2004, left herself too much to do to repeat the feat at the world championships in Guatemala City, today.

Starting in 23rd place after four events, Harland scorched through the field in the cross country run climbing sixteen places to finish individual 7th on a score of 5,220 points. Team mates, Mhairi Spence and Katy Livingstone finished 12th and 18th respectively as together they claimed the silver medal in the team event behind Poland and ahead of Hungary, who took the bronze. "We came here to win a team medal and we"ve done that, said Harland. Were a new team and so gold in the europeans and silver in the world championships is great in our first year together. I am disappointed with my individual performance, especially shooting and fencing; but I rode well and then just went after everyone in the run. Bragging rights over the country, however, must go to rival Viktoria Tereschuk of Ukraine. Starting in 20th place after four events, one minute and eleven seconds behind the leaders, she ran into the individual silver medal position to finish behind the winner, Marta Dziadura of Poland and ahead of Omnia Fakhry of Egypt, who took the Bronze.

Mhairi Spence, individual bronze medallist at the European Championships earlier in the year had looked Britains best prospect for much of the day, starting the final 3,000 metres run in 5th place, twenty one seconds behind joint leaders Fakhry and Dziadura. Its a great result for the team, but I set myself a goal of finishing in the top 8 individually, so 12th is not good enough for me. I had a rocky start in the shoot which I pulled around and I shouldnt have let things slip in the fence the way I did. I was pleased with my ride on a good horse, and overall Im delighted to get onto the world championship podium for the first time, she said.

Commenting on the teams performance, National Performance Director, Jan Bartu, said, Its a fantastic ending to a very difficult day. The teams are now much closer together than before Athens (Olympic Games) with five teams challenging for the gold medal. The girls deserved their medal because they really kept fighting all day, and this is the key characteristic of this new team.

On Georgie Harlands performance, Jan Bartu said:

We have to keep working with her to prevent these poor starts in shooting particularly; but the best thing is that she finished the competition so strongly because she has basically been injured for most of the two years since the Athens Games.

Jan Bartu on Mhairi Spence:

This year has been a massive step forward for Mhairi, rounded off with a world championship silver medal.

Any fears surrounding the staging of the championships so late in the year in Guatemala have been dispelled with well organised days of competition and welcoming and enthusiastic support from spectators and volunteers, alike. Nick Woodbridge competes for Britain tomorrow (Sun 19 Nov) in the mens final following his impressive performance in qualification.

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