The outstanding favourite for gold in the intense Bulgarian sun is Laura Asadauskaite (LTU). The newly crowned World #1 has been in scintillating form in recent months which resulted in gold at the World Cup Final. If the Lithuanian pocket rocket fences well and manages to ride without too many penalties, it is almost certain that she will better the silver she won at the 2008 European Championships on the expected 37 degree heat.
Asadauskite’s biggest rival will be the women who beat her for gold at the 2008 Championships, Victoria Tereshuk (UKR). Tereshuk has not been able to recapture the form which made her World Champion in 2011 and even failed to qualify for this year’s World Championships final. However an impressive showing in yesterday’s qualification proves that form is temporary and class is permanent and she will be a serious contender for gold.
The young Hungarian pair of Sarolta Kovacs and Adrienn Toth are no strangers to winning the Junior and Youth European Championships, as they have 7 titles between them. They will both think it is time that they finally make the breakthrough on the senior stage and win a senior European medal to go with their junior & youth ones.
4 years ago Heather Fell was on top of the World winning a silver medal at the Beijing Olympics. After missing out on the GB team for London, this event is the last time she will get to compete on the World stage in 2012. Fell will be desperate to put the disappointment of London behind her and add to her World Cup Final silver medal won this year with a European Championships title before her summer holidays.
Sylvia Gawlikowska, (POL) soon to be a veteran of 2 Olympic Games, is one of the most consistent performers on the tour. However, often in the top 6, the Polish #1 has never been able to take that final step and win a gold medal on the World stage. With the Olympics just over a month away and in the form of her life, this is a brilliant opportunity to put this hoodoo aside and claim a well deserve international title.
Elena Rublevska (LAT) and Ekaterina Khuraskina are 2 other athletes, that will feel confident they can produce a special performance in the heat tomorrow and give themselves a boost heading into London by being the European Champion.
Follow all the action in Sofia through UIPM’s live results at Pentathlon.org/2012eurochamps.