By Mike Rowbottom

September 9 - Medway Park, which successfully staged a Modern Pentathlon World Cup in April, has earned the right to host next year’s European Championships.

In terms of the London 2012 Olympics qualification it will be the most important competition in the international calendar for British athletes in 2011 because the top eight in both the men’s and women’s competitions will qualify automatically for the London Olympics (UIPM) Olympic Selection Criteria to be confirmed at the UIPM Congress in November.

The European Championships will be hosted in Medway from July 28 to August 1 next year.

Pentathlon GB chief executive Peter Hart added: "We are delighted to be bringing the European Championships to Medway Park.

"The decision to return to Medway received unanimous support from the European governing body and demonstrates the high regard in which the area is now held as a home for international competition.

"With the Championships also acting as an Olympic qualifier we are hoping to see our British athletes coming to Medway and clinching one of those coveted places at London 2012."

Jan Bartu, Pentathlon GB’s Performance Director, said: "Pentathlon GB have achieved an unprecedented success in Modern Pentathlon at the last three Olympic Games.

"Hosting the European Championships in Medway in 2011 will give us the best opportunity to qualify early for the Olympic Games and concentrate on preparing the athletes for London 2012."

Final selections for the British team for the London 2012 Olympic Games will be made by the British Olympic Association.

Howard Doe, Medway Council Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: "To see the world’s best pentathletes competing in Medway and qualifying for the Olympic Games in London 2012 will be a proud moment for our community.

"It demonstrates how highly Medway is now thought of in the sporting world and will provide inspiration to all our young people.

"It is sometimes hard to believe that in a little over four years we will have transformed our sporting facilities to such an extent that Medway will be witnessing athletes qualifying for the Olympic Games.

"The added joy is that, through the development of sport in Medway we can not only enjoy world-class competition, but we also have facilities that can deliver a true legacy for our community.

"I know the fantastic support of the community in Medway will spur the athletes on to deliver top class performances."

The European Championships begin with the semi-finals on July 28 and 29.

The top 36 men will compete in their final on Saturday, July 30 and the top 36 women will compete in their final on Sunday, July 31.

The competition finishes on Monday, August 1 with the team relays.

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