Two nice surprises this year were Portuguese Ricardo Rego and Irish Arthur Lanigan O’Keeffe, who reached the European championships final – Rego also has been to WC#1 Palm Springs final. Both will have teammates and will try to repeat the previous success by taking a step further and now making a World Championships final.
Best known Spanish pentathlete, Jaime Lopez, won’t attend the competition but Spain is sending a pair of young and promising pentathletes; Bulgaria and Switzerland will also have pentathletes in Moscow.
Ancient and New World
Egyptian Yasser Hefny already got an Olympic spot at African Championships earlier this year, this making the El-Geziry brothers, Omar and Amro, looking for another way to book their tickets to London 2012. The anacronimous brothers are hoping to rely on their very favourite disciplines (swimming for Amro and fencing for Omar) to boost their chances of a good position and maybe a historical medal (would be the first for an African pentathlete in the men’s field) while Hefny is looking to confirm his condition of continental champion and be the best Egyptian in the field and grab the unprecedent medal himself.
Mohamd Eid, from Egypt, and Jon-Paul Raper, from South Africa, are the other African pentathletes in the men’s field this year.
The American continent is sending strong delegations that will meet again in Panamerican Games in Guadalajara in one month. Many regional competitions held recently show how levelled and close they are. As for the American team, we have William Brady, current Panamerican champion; Dennis Bowsher, current national champion; Eli Bremer, the most experienced of the team, 3rd at World Cup Final 2008; and Sam Sacksen, who despite having the lowest ranking of the team, was the only American to qualify for World Cups finals this year (twice).
Mexico dominated the Norceca Open Championships this year, with Abraham Camacho and Alvaro Sandoval winning gold and silver (Bremer was third). The most experienced of the team, Oscar Soto, was the winner of 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games and has important points to defend as he was the only pentathlete from American continent to reach the final last year, when he finished in 11th position.
Jorge Inzunza, a good prospect for the next years, completes the team. Guatemala won’t count on Andrei Gheorghe but will cheer on his representant, Nikkos Papadopolo, Canada will expect for Joshua Riker-Fox to be back to his best shape and Christopher Pietruczuk to make this his breakthrough season. From South America, Brazilian Luis Magno and Argentinian Emanuel Zapata are the highlights and the best bets for qualifying for the final, while Chile and Ecuador have been recently in the podium of the continental championships.
Next world champion: coming out of the blue or a clear favourite?
Last year Sergey Karyakin and Aleksander Lesun impressed everyone with their accomplishments, which culminated in Chengdu World Championships. If there’s not much place for fluke wins or luck in modern pentathlon, since a good result is built after many events – and both showed they kept the consistency this season - we can’t say exactly they came out of the blue.
Both had respectable curriculums in junior career, but who could have guessed they would be uprising stars in such a fast speed, besides those who were closely following them? Anyway, now they are favourites, as were Marosi and Svoboda last year. The uprising rookie is James Cooke.