Like the sport itself, Italy brings the classic tradition grounding a vanguard’s contemporary scene in a very dynamic site.
The rich cultural diversity seen in arts, science and technology applies to the sport that requires many talents allying body and mind in a passionate play while the beautiful, impressive and delicate forms of the scenario are driven by the powerful strength of nature, from the interior and surface. This match will be part of another act, a special one, of modern pentathlon’s history, which celebrates its centennial in 2012.
This year the competition will feature the relays before the individual competitions, a good warm-up for athletes and a great start for the fans that will have medal competitions since the beginning and again having the chance of enjoying the collaborative event. The show will start with the ladies in the women’s relay (Monday), followed in the next days by the men’s relay (Tuesday) and mixed relay (Wednesday).
The individual competition will have the best pentathletes of the world, with at least 76 women and 106 men in the strongest field seen in years since pentathletes are preparing for the Olympics and it looks like some of them are successfully avoiding and recovering from injuries. Not only the world champions titles and many medals are at task since 3 Olympic spots will be delivered in each competition for the best ranked athletes not yet qualified and a lot of points for the rankings will be distributed.
Under the spotlight will be Russian Andrey Moiseev and French Amélie Caze. The Russian is the current world champion and have two challenging tasks this year: to defend his world champion title and trying to win his third Olympic title. The French is looking for her fourth world title – last year she missed the competition due to injury – and like the Russian she keeps an eye on the Olympic competition which will be held in August, aiming for her first Olympic medal. Moiseev and Caze will have to do their best if they want to assure another gold medal to their trophies room, as they will face strong in-form opponents.
Moiseev plans to top his teammate, world #1 Aleksander Lesun, the only athlete to clinch two medals in World Cups this season; also from Russia are the past world champions Sergey Karyakin and Ilia Frolov, who have been to podiums this year as well.
To counterpart the Russian “big four” there’s the strong local Italian team made of Federico Giancamilli, Nicola Benedetti, Pierpaolo Petroni and Riccardo de Luca, who are also flooding the top positions of the rankings and will be competing at Rome, sweet home. The Italian team has a great design with fast machines and eruptive performances which is aging well like a good wine and tasting improving success in recent years.
Hungarians Adam Marosi and Robert Kasza, Czech David Svoboda and Ukrainian Pavlo Tymoshchenko are looking for a good display in next competitions in their way to Olympic Games. Except for the Hungarians, they still have to qualify for the Games and even though they might be standing in a comfortable place right now, they know it’s a great chance of facing their strongest opponents and testing new techniques.
In such a big competition, we will have some juniors who already made some impact at the seniors level, like British James Cooke, Hungarian Bence Demeter and Kazakh Pavel Iliashenko while others will be aiming for their breakthrough. In the other side of the age spectrum some veterans will show their experience and skills – like Lithuanian Edvinas Krungolcas and Czech Michal Michalik who are looking for their third Olympic appearance and Latvian Deniss Cerkovskis in the way to his fourth participation; while Cerkovskis is in good position at Olympic Pentathlon Ranking, the others will have to do the trick as they have been fighting injury, struggling with their form and having missed important competitions lately are going to miss the World Cup Final later this month in Chengdu, China.
For those who didn’t qualify for the Chinese event, this will be their last chance to book a ticket to London. The team competition during semifinals and finals will assure many athletes won’t let be upset by a slow start and Russia, South Korea, Italy and Hungary will be fighting for the top position.
Caze will have to deal with a pretty strong field. Ukrainian Victoria Tereshuk is the current world champion and wants to double her title and any doubt about her fitness was dismissed as she showed fine form in last World Cup in Rostov. World #1 Lena Schöneborn from Germany has been dominating the rankings in recent years since her breakthrough with the Olympic title in Beijing 2008 but never achieved the world champion title and wants to add this title to her curriculum. Lithuanian Laura Asadauskaite has been to several podiums since her comeback and want the ice on the cake with a title in Rome.
The British team has a dramatic battle for the places in the Olympic team and the performance at World Championships, for its importance and timing, sure will play a role in the selection. From the continents explored by the Italians Christoforo Colombo and Marco Polo there are Brazilian Yane Marques, American Margaux Isaksen and former world champion Qien Chian from China who are looking for a good result, while Egyptian Aya Medani will have to face a smaller trip across the Mediterranean Sea to reach Italy and try to get her country another medal.
In the top positions we will likely have some of the upcoming stars of the sport, like French Elodie Clouvel, Hungarian Sarolta Kovacs – who was second last year – and Australian Chloe Esposito who have the sport in her genes and is looking for new best results for her country. The new generation will learn from the class of the more experienced fellows like Latvian Elena Rublevska and Sylwia Gawlikowska from Poland.
The Italian girls are not expected to win the competition like Claudia Corsini did in 2005, but they have been showing good form and competing at home might help them getting their best result ever and might grab a medal in the team’s competition.
Stay tuned for the relay competitions and individual semifinals and finals since great action is guaranteed in this event and until the curtains close everyone involved, from the stage, backstage and audience will experience touching and joyful feelings.