In an Olympic year, a special one for the sport that celebrates its centennial, there is a lot yet to come in following months with several competitions scheduled and, of course, the long awaited Olympic competition that will take place in London in August.
The high quality action performed in last months settled the current rankings along with results from last year’s second half, which means there are points to drop from the ranking for many pentathletes who might be worried about defending their positions, but this point of the season brings a very meaningful ranking despite being temporary.
In the women’s ranking, Lithuanian Laura Asadauskaite reclaimed the #1 position she left after missing a full season (2010) due to pregnancy. That wasn’t an easy task since she overcame current Olympic champion Lena Schöneborn, who started the season in hot form by winning World Cup #1 in Charlotte, USA, and other consistent athletes who are in fine form leading to Olympic Games. Asadauskaite won the 2012 World Cup Final in Chengdu, China, and has important points to drop later this season and will try to deal with good performances in London and at European Championships, in Bulgaria.
The British squad has 3 pentathletes inside the top 10 – recently crowned world champion Mhairi Spence is currently #3, just behind Schöneborn, and the internal battle for Olympic places worked on making a strong team and season for the British girls. France has two top10 pentathletes and is happy with the results so far and willing to make it even better in next months. Some other strong squads are Germany and Hungary with 3 pentathletes inside the top20.
The big movers are, inside the top10, Brazilian Yane Marques (from 10th to 6th), to reach top 10 is British Samantha Murray (from 43rd to 10th) and also Aussie sensation Chloe Esposito making history for her country and improving from 33rd to 13th. The rankings rise rewarded their impressive progression and consistency this season. 2011 world champion Victoria Tereshuk surprised the fans by not going through semifinals this year in same competition but is looking for another Olympic medal (she was third in Beijing 2008 Games) and put the upset behind her.
In the men’s rankings, there are three Russians filling the top3. Aleksander Lesun is managing the ranking lead for a while – just left the position for few weeks in last two years – and has impressive 230 points out of 240 possible. As winner of 2012 World Championships in Rome, Italy, is not worried by points to drop since he has a respectable back-up this year with his title at WC#2, in Rio de Janeiro, and the bronze medal at Charlotte, USA (WC#1). Double Olympic champion Andrei Moiseev is peaking for another Olympic Games to try to get an unprecedented third gold medal, and on his way has collected the 2011 World Championships and European title, having finished the 2012 World Champs only behind his teammate Lesun.
The third Russian in the ranking podium is Ilia Frolov, who collected two important titles this year, the WC#1 and the World Cup Final. Former ranking leader Adam Marosi, from Hungary, has been under the radar lately but with consistent performances stands at fourth position. Another top pentathlete from last years, David Svoboda from Czech Republic, is currently the 23rd and has plans of improving his results and consequently his ranking with good performances at European Championships and Olympic Games.
British Nicolas Woodbridge reached the 5th position in the rankings (was 9th at the beginning of the year) and along with Frolov was one of the biggest movers inside top10. From the new generation, South Korean youngster Woojin Hwang jumped from 30th position to 9th and Kazakh Pavel Iliashenko jumped more than 30 positions to stand in 20th position. Russia has 4 pentathletes inside top10, while Hungary, South Korea and Great Britain have 3 pentathletes making the top20, which are the collective highlights of the men’s rankings.
Will Schöneborn regain her leadership in the rankings in the next months? Can a British pentathlete claim the #1 position still this year? Are we going to see Russians changing their positions or any other athlete defying their dominance until the end of the year? This is an important point of the season, but there’s still a lot to come in next months for the Olympians and all other pentathletes that didn’t manage to book their tickets to London and have to focus on other competitions.