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Page last updated at 22:16 GMT, Sunday, 16 August 2009 23:16 UK

Livingston denied victory by fall

MODERN PENTATHLON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Venue: Crystal Palace, London Dates: 13-17 August
Coverage: Watch highlights from 2000 BST on Sunday on the red button and BBC Sport website (UK users only)

Modern Pentathlon

Highlights - GB win silver in Modern Pentathlon

By Ollie Williams
BBC Sport at the National Sports Centre, Crystal Palace

China's Qian Chen has been crowned modern pentathlon world champion following a controversial show jumping stage of the final at Crystal Palace.

Great Britain's Katy Livingston felt a mistaken warning buzzer ruined her round and she subsequently fell off her horse, ruining her chances of victory.

However, event officials said they were "content" with what had taken place.

Livingston, who led the final until the jumping, finished 23rd, while the GB women took the team silver medal.

Olympic champion Lena Schoneborn won individual bronze, behind silver medallist Laura Asadauskaite of Lithuania.

Katy Livingston
Katy Livingston is thrown from her horse at Crystal Palace

Livingston's fellow Britons Heather Fell, Mhairi Spence and Freyja Prentice finished the individual competition ninth, 14th and 15th respectively.

Chen had kept in the top group throughout the day, without ever holding the outright lead, and she produced a stunning performance in the new run-and-shoot combined event to win gold.

Livingston, who finished seventh in the Olympics last year, had earlier won the fencing competition and finished fifth in the swimming.

But following her disastrous equestrian round, she fell away in the run-and-shoot.

As leader, she was last to go in the showjumping round, and had gone clear through the first nine fences.

However, as she cleared the ninth jump, a piece of the 10th became dislodged.

Stewards quickly mended the fence but officials sounded a warning buzzer, intended to allow riders to stop without penalty.

However, with the fence already fixed, the buzzer was immediately sounded again for Livingston to continue.

It was a massive error of judgement and unfortunately we pay the price"

Jan Bartu

She completed the next sequence of three closely-packed fences, knocking one down, but was then thrown from her horse at fence 11.

"I was really angry as soon as I got off the horse. It was a massive opportunity for me," Livingston told BBC Sport.

"My fencing score was four hits more than my personal best, it was unbelievable. I was 0.2 seconds off my personal best in the swimming and I drew the best horse there.

"I felt it was too good to be true but the riding cost me big time today."

Equestrian event director Philip Harland told BBC Sport he was content with the way Livingston's round had been officiated, and said she had been given the chance to stop, unpenalised, and return to the jump, but had chosen to press on.

But British performance director Jan Bartu said that claims the round had been correctly officiated were "nonsense", adding that his athlete had been given no time to make a decision or stop the horse.

"Katy's riding has been compromised by the judges' decision and she lost focus. She could picture herself fighting for the medal and it has been taken away from her," he said.

"We could not understand why the decision to stop was given so late when the fence was down at the beginning of Katy's ride, and hadn't been rebuilt. They could have stopped her any time.

606: DEBATE
Mark J - BBC Sport

"The director of riding believes he has done everything right. We all know that is not the case. It was a massive error of judgement and unfortunately we pay the price."

Livingston's showjumping round was the fourth worst of the 36 competitors by the time she finished, reducing her to fifth place in the overall standings ahead of the final event, the combined run-and-shoot.

The run-and-shoot is pentathlon's new-look finale and the World Championships in Crystal Palace mark the first time it has been used to decide a major competition.

Fell was world number one prior to the competition but, having already played down her medal chances, found her performances affected by a virus.

She slipped to a disappointing 19th place after the fencing competition, which she was unable to improve upon until the final event.

"I was stuck on 19th for most of the day so it's nice to go in the right direction," she said.

Confident-looking Spence fenced well, setting the tone for a solid all-round performance.

Prentice, in her World Championship debut following a sensational year since stepping up from junior level, produced the third-best show jumping round of the day, and will look to improve her swimming as she works towards a 2012 Olympic appearance.



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see also
Marosi wins world title in London
15 Aug 09 |  Modern Pentathlon
British quartet power into final
14 Aug 09 |  Modern Pentathlon
Fell sees London as positive test
11 Aug 09 |  Modern Pentathlon
Schoneborn pips GB's Fell to gold
22 Aug 08 |  Modern Pentathlon
Mason and North win selection nod
23 Jul 09 |  Modern Pentathlon
GB expect world medal in London
07 Jul 09 |  Modern Pentathlon


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