World number two Kate French is a modern pentathlete and will be representing Team GB at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games this summer. The Pentathlon GB athlete has already won three international medals this year including gold at the World Cup Final. She has also earned multiple podium places at World and European Championships and placed fifth on her Olympic debut at Rio 2016. Here, Kate joins us to talk about her Tokyo dreams and her gruelling training regime.
Many congratulations on your recent selection for the Tokyo Olympics, first of all, how does it feel to be representing your country at such a major event?
Thank you, it is an amazing feeling and an honour to be representing my country at an Olympic Games and I can’t believe I am getting to do it twice!
You were part of the team for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, what was that experience like for you?
Rio was incredible, I loved my first Olympic experience and it gave me more determination to compete at the next games in Tokyo.
We all know about the rigorous training regimes professional athletes keep, but can you give us a breakdown of a typical day for you whilst in training?
In pentathlon no day is the same, so it is quite hard to give an example of a typical day. In a week I do 4 swims, 5 runs (2 of which are laser runs), 2 shooting sessions, 2/3 fencing freeplay sessions plus 2/3 fencing lessons and 3 gym sessions! As you’d expect with 5 sports, it can be a real juggling act, some weeks are more focused on a particular sport.
What will be the plan now before going to Tokyo and will your training regime differ the nearer you get to the Olympics?
This year will be different as we cannot travel to our usual pre-major competition camp in the Pyrenees. We will prepare here in Bath like we have for the other competitions this season, with training partners and the comforts of our homes. As we get closer to competition the training will gradually get easier.
Photo credit: UIPM World Pentathlon Virág Buza
How has competing in the modern pentathlon helped with your physical and mental health?
Pentathlon has a variety of challenging disciplines which means I have always got something different to focus on. Whether that is just clearing my head and going for a long steady run or being motivated and focussed for a big competition.
When was the first time you realised you could make a career out of the modern pentathlon, and was there an event that stands out in your mind when you felt like a winner for the first time?
At age 17 I began to look at universities I wanted to attend to further my education. When the opportunity of training at the University of Bath whilst also studying there became available there was nowhere else I wanted to go! With the support of The National Lottery I’ve been able to train here full time throughout my career.
You were competing at a high level at a young age. How did you cope with the pressures and do you have any tips for young athletes?
I’ve always loved competing, and I think the enjoyment of the sport has to be the fundamental reason you do it. Yes there is pressure, but if you love what you do it makes the pressure so much more manageable.
Finally, do you ever go to sleep at night and dream of the gold medal around your neck?
It would be a dream come true!
You can follow Kate's journey to Tokyo via her social media channels - just click to follow: