Today we look at the Russia & Ukraine.
Russian team is ruling the men’s circuit for three consecutive seasons and will count on double Olympic champion Andrei Moiseev trying to do the hat-trick and become the greatest Olympic pentathlete, while his fellow Aleksander Lesun will be looking to confirm his position of world #1 he is sustaining for two years already.
Moiseev looked like wouldn’t contest his third Olympic title right after the introduction of the combined event, struggling to adapt to the new format and his shooting form, this making him failing in reaching finals in competitions, but in last season he won both the World and European Championships and showed he was back to business as usual. Lesun claimed the ranking leadership with consistent performances and managed to improve what was already great, by turning the winning mode on and collecting several titles moving from the silver age to golden age.
Both performers will have to rely on their first events to start the combined event in a good position and are expected to duel for the gold medal. Lesun had the edge over Moiseev this season, but the double Olympic champion knows how to peak in this competition, so this will be a friendly battle of the fresh against the experienced.
The Russian women’s team will be made of Edvokia Gretchichnikova and Ekaterina Khuraskina, who may not carry the hype of their teammates, but are representatives of the strongest pentathlon school and belong to the elite and can surprise the favourites. Like in the men, Gretchichnikova brings the experience while Khuraskina represents the new generation and both want to shine in London, one by going back to her best days and the other making her definite breakthrough.
2010 world champion Victoria Tereshuk, who earned a bronze medal in last Olympic Games, will face the challenge of reaching another Olympic podium. Awarded 2011 Ukrainian athlete of the year, which is a pretty amazing achievement since she beaten other world class athletes from most known sports, the award was a consequence of her memorable win in Moscow’s World Championships.
After taking an year off after the Olympic Games due to pregnancy, Tereshuk soon was back to her best form and even though faced an injury earlier this year which made her facing some bad results, is one of the favourites in the event and will have to use her acknowledged fast running to finish ahead of her nearest rivals in the circuit.
Tereshuk will pair in fencing with teammate Iryna Khokhlova, a promising youngster who claimed the silver medal recently at European Championships held in Sofia, Bulgaria and was the winner of the 2011 World Military Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she have an eye on for next Olympics. Pavlo Tymoshchenko and Dmytro Kirpulyanskyy will be in the men’s field which is also pretty strong but have real chances of fighting for the first places if they have a good day.
That’s a hard task since every competitor will be looking for peaking at the Games, but the Ukrainian pair showed they can be at the top so it’s a matter of delivering when it counts and make history.