Team GB’s Kate French produced a superb performance to finish sixth at the Olympic Games in Rio at the end of two gruelling days of modern pentathlon action.
French began the competition with 17 victories and 18 defeats in the fencing ranking round, to sit in a tie for 15th.
The Gravesend-born athlete maintained her position after the 200m freestyle swim before showing her ability in riding arena to pick up maximum points.
The 25-year-old then impressed in the shooting and running to move through the pack and finish the competition in a healthy sixth position.
Reflecting on her debut Olympic performance, French said: “I’m really, really happy. I kept moving up and I couldn’t have asked for any more after my fencing wasn’t great.
“I always enjoy the riding but it’s quite hit and miss whether you get on with your horse or not. Luckily I rode really well. My horse was really good to me so I had a really nice clear.
“I was about half a second off my personal best in the swim as well so I was really happy with that and it was a good start to the day.”
Despite entering the Games as one of the outsiders, French pushed her rivals admirably and beat several experienced and successful modern pentathletes.
And after a perfect ride, French, who is now based in Bath, even admits she pondered whether a medal was possible going into the final event.
She added: “A medal was on my mind at the end. I did my best but I’m still really happy with sixth.
“My shoots could have gone a little better but with this atmosphere it was quite hard to keep concentration.
“But the buzz was incredible and it definitely helped with the running – the crowd just spurred me on right until the end.”
French, who completed a top 10 Team GB double with teammate Samantha Murray, added: “My first Olympic experience has been so amazing, I’ve loved competing here.
“I couldn’t wait to get started and the event fulfilled all of my dreams.
“We were in the village for three days, just hanging around and waiting to start. The atmosphere was unbelievable and I’d love to start it all over again.”