Tokyo Olympics: Team Bath Modern Pentathlete champs welcome recognition for the sport

After one of the most successful Olympic Games on record for Team GB, a West Country training facility has been been celebrating two of its most recent gold medallists.

Kate French and Joe Choong both scooped the gold in the Modern Pentathlon after training at the University of Bath.

They both said it is strange getting used to their new found fame but if it shines a brighter spotlight on the sport then it is all worth it.

Kate French crossing the finish line to win gold. Credit: PA

Joe said: "Its been like an absolute whirlwind over the past few days. With so much stuff that we've never even dreamed of being involved in with winning a gold medal like all the interviews and the attention that our sport never usually gets."

That attention has gone much further than the sporting world with Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeting both Kate and Joe to congratulate them on their efforts.

Kate said: "It's so surreal, the support has been so incredible for us since we've been home. Just hearing all the stories of everyone watching and supporting, it's just been amazing and we can't thank everyone enough for the support they've given us."

While remaining modest the pair admitted that the Modern Pentathlon isn't the easiest sport to master, and with so many events to train for there are plenty of opportunities for things to wrong.

Joe Choong during the Modern Pentathlon medal ceremony. Credit: PA

On the wide mix of disciplines, Joe said: "That's the balancing act of our sport and that's why we've got such a fantastic coaching team and they advise us on how to balance the training and spending different amount times between the five sports."

What's included in the Modern Pentathlon?

Competitors score points in the first three events, which decide their starting position for the final laser run event, composed of the shooting and running disciplines. The first athlete over the line wins the gold medal.

• Fencing Ranking RoundThe competition is a round-robin of one-minute matches, with the most successful athletes winning the most points. The short, quick bouts demand complete concentration and the adaptability to cope with different opponents.

• SwimmingThe 200m freestyle event is a test of power and endurance. Competitors line up in heats according to their fastest times and are awarded points based on their finishing times.

• Fencing Bonus RoundThe start list for the fencing bonus round is based on the result of the fencing ranking round. The format is elimination and bouts last 30 seconds. Each victory achieved by an athlete adds a point to their score from the ranking round.

• RidingAthletes must ride an unfamiliar horse over a show jumping course without incurring penalties and within the allotted time. In the standalone sport of equestrian, riders and horses train together for years; in modern pentathlon, competitors are paired with their horses in a draw just 20 minutes before they compete.

• Laser-RunCompetitors are ranked according to their score from the first three disciplines, with the leader going first. One point equals a one-second advantage. In this final combined event, athletes must complete four circuits shooting five targets from a distance of 10m within 50 seconds using a laser pistol, and running 800m.

On the medals themselves, Kate admitted that even though it is a dream come true it's "heavier than expected" and is "weighing her down a bit" - while Joe said his is safely out of reach in his parents' trophy cabinet.