A County Durham athlete has set her sights on representing Great Britain after winning her first British pentathlon title last weekend.
Fourteen-year-old Sadie Abel, from Fishburn, claimed the Under-15 title at the British Youth Modern Pentathlon Championships in Solihull.
Abel saw off competition from some of the country’s most talented pentathletes to record an overall score of 6464 across the five events, 30 ahead of Yorkshire Pentathlon Club team-mate Kari Dougall in second place and 104 ahead of Charlotte Summers in third.
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Pentathlon entails shooting, swimming, fencing, riding and running, and the County Dutham athlete scored highly in the shoot, fence and ride to consolidate her victory.
A keen horse rider growing up, the teenager got into the multi-sport events at the age of nine having competed in triathlons and tetrathlons as part of her riding club and she gradually added in fencing and shooting. Now, she trains five times a week to perfect each discipline by attending clubs all over the North-East.
The Sedgefield Community College student is a member of Sedgefield Harriers and Sedgefield 75 Swimming Club, which is based in Newton Aycliffe, while she also fences at Laszlo’s Fencing Club in Durham and practices riding and shooting at her parent’s farm.
Sadie’s has continued to progress since she started competing and having finished second in the same championships at Under-13 level, her win in the Midlands last week is her biggest achievement to date.
While she is yet to receive a call-up from Great British Pentathlon, Abel has been on the sporting body’s Talent Pathway, but having claimed her maiden national title, the 14-year-old hopes her achievements will earn her a call-up in the future.
“It feels really good to be British champion,” Abel said. “Before it was always second place or fifth place, but this time I’ve managed to win and it’s a great feeling.
“I’ve never been selected to represent Great Britain. That’s definitely my next goal and hopefully winning the Under-15 title can help me achieve that. I’ve competed against girls who have been selected for GB and beaten them so hopefully I can become part of the national squad.
“Once I achieve that, my aim is to compete internationally and my ambition is to go to the Olympics one day. That’s a long way off at the moment, but winning competitions like the British Championship will stand me in good stead.
“Obviously it will depend on how I get on at the next few events, but hopefully now I’ve won I can keep winning things and push on.”