POSTED: Friday November 11th 2011

Modern Pentathlon Junior World Championships Preview

Sarolta Kovacs Winning Last Years World Championships
Sarolta Kovacs Winning Last Years World Championships

Can Bence Demeter win for a 2nd year in a row?
Can Bence Demeter win for a 2nd year in a row?

Buenos Aires, the charming capital of Argentina, will host the 2011 edition of the World Junior Championships from 17-21 November and a good atmosphere is expected as suggests the name of the city.

This new pentathlon area is quickly developing thanks to the usual good and hard work now along with a recent founding support policy coming from the lottery profits.

A strong field with 130 young pentathletes from all continents will finish the 2011 season on a high note. The competitors from such different backgrounds have in common the youth and the love for the sport, however pentathletes have set their own personal aims, as the elite pentathletes will fight for first positions while others are willing to make a breakthrough by either upsetting the favourites, reaching the final, being the best of his/her area or country or just beating their personal best marks.

They may have different calendar training schedules, but all will want to do their best as this is the most important junior competition of the year so we can expect a great display by the new generation in all competitions (individual, team and relay).

Those who were born in 1990 are in their last junior season and heading to senior level - some actually are competing at both levels already and challenging the most experienced.

The defending champions are Hungarians Bence Demeter and Sarolta Kovacs, who claimed the title at home last year and showed that the slight age difference didn’t matter last time as they beat more experienced pentathletes who were in their farewell season in junior level.

Now they are even more matured after a successful season at both seniors level (Kovacs was silver at world Senior Championships in Moscow earlier this year while Demeter was third at World Cup #4) and juniors level (both are the current European junior champions) and will try to confirm their dominance.

American Margaux Isaksen is one of the biggest threat(s) to Kovacs’ chances of making it double, as the American is on fire in this second half of season after winning the Panamerican Games and the Champion of Champions.

Isaksen also had to deal with an injury in the middle of the season and her current good form suggests there’s still gas left for this competition. That won’t be a particular duel between Kovacs and Isaksen as there are many other serious contestants in the field.

Kovacs’ teammate Adrienn Toth, who was second at European Senior Championships this year and share with Kovacs many team and relay medals, has a good shot at the individual title.

The strong Hungarian team also counts on Youth A world leader Zsofia Foldhazi.  German Annika Schleu and British Freyja Prentice grabbed medals at World Cups in 2011 and will be looking for new medals to add to their collections, as they are expected to lead their strong teams in Argentina.

Prentice was bronze medal at European Junior Champs in Drzonkow, Poland, while Schleu was fifth, just behind her countryman Janine Kohlmann. The Chinese, Russian, Czech and Mexican teams may be the underdogs in this competition, but will try to pull a surprise. Another one to watch is local pentathlete Ayelen Zapata, currently inside the top20 juniors ranking. The women’s field will have 53 participants from 21 contries.

Demeter finished the Senior World Championships in 6th place, just ahead of Korean Woojin Hwang, who was 3rd at World Cup 3 earlier this year. Now the Korean will try to put both the Hungarian and the jet lag behind by reaching earlier the airport and the finish line. Hwang’s teammate, Soengjin Kim, who was third in last JWCs, is another contender for a medal in Buenos Aires.

The pentathlete who is closer to Demeter at the seniors ranking is British James Cooke, who will try to make the disappointing Senior World Championships just an odd note in his great season, where he smashed swimming records and made himself eligible for next year’s Olympic Games.

Chilean Esteban Bustos, winner of a bronze medal at Panamerican Games in Guadalajara last month and South America’s best chance of medal, is another 2012 Olympian in the field. Another Latin American country, Mexico, will send a strong delegation and has good chances of podium with 2009 Youth A World Champion Alvaro Sandoval and 2010 Panamerican 3rd place Jorge Inzunza.

The French team impressed by having 3 pentathletes inside the top5 in this year’s European Junior Championships (Geoffrey Megi, Valentin Prades and Christopher Patte). Patte, the current junior world #2, has a final shot to top the ranking this year.

The Russian and Belarussian teams also had remarkable performances at the continental championships and are looking for a step further this time.

One pentathlete to keep an eye will be Kazakh Pavel Ilyashenko, who made a successful d├ębut in Senior Wolrd Championships and surprised by finishing in 11th position. The best ranked Youth A pentathlete in the field will be Brazilian William Muinhos.

These young pentathletes, some still teenagers, have to face many challenges at this age, like uni or school, a demanding training routine and all the joys, fears and disappointments of their age which is a transition to adult age in personal life and to senior level in professional sport life.

During the competition, however, there will be no place for distractions and they will be focused on the disciplines and will be sorted among them the best junior pentathletes and teams of the world in this season.

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Keywords · Modern Pentathlon · Olympics · Junior World Championships · Argentina · Fence · Run · Swim · Ride · Shoot · London · 2012 · Sarolta Kovacs · Hungary

Name: Matt Pound
Organization: Union Internationale De Pentathlon Moderne - UIPM
Phone: +377 9777 8555

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