Recently awarded “UIPM Honorary Member for Life” Ivan Popov, from Bulgaria, played a leading role in the process of building the current methodology of world ranking as a member of UIPM Technical Committee for decades. A lot of discussion and several methodologies were tried before the experts reached an agreement. The best three results in the immediate past 52 weeks (a year period) make the total ranking points of a pentathlete and there’s a ranking points breakdown according to the importance of the competition (Olympic Games, World Championships and World Cup Final offered up to 80 points to the winners and are the biggest competitions of the year).
This year the Pentathlon World Rankings co-existed with another ranking, the Olympic Pentathlon World Ranking, set for qualifying purposes for the Olympic Games, and once the qualifying deadline was met, World Rankings gained all attentions back. Now the 2011 points were dropped and rankings reflect the full season.
In the men’s ranking, Russian Aleksander Lesun keeps his #1 spot thanks to his titles at the 2012 World Championships in Rome and World Cup #2 in Rio de Janeiro, along with the points from London Olympic Games where he narrowly missed the podium with a fourth place. This is the third year in a row the Russian finishes the year as world #1. Lesun’s teammate, Ilia Frolov, also managed to win two important competitions in 2012, the World Cup Final in Chengdu and the WC#1 in Charlotte, and stands as world #2. London Olympics silver medal, Chinese Zhongrong Cao, reached a career best of world #3, while current Olympic champion, Czech David Svoboda, is placed in 5th position in the ranking, right behind two-time Olympic champion Andrei Moiseev.
Russian team is clearly dominant in the rankings, with 4 athletes inside the top10 (former world champion Sergey Karyakin is 9th). Italy is another highlight with 2 pentathletes among the 10 best of the year, European champion De Luca (7th) and Benedetti, winner of WC#3 in Hungary. The Hungarians, by the way, leaded by London bronze medal and former world champion Marosi, shows its strength by putting 4 inside the top25, while team-relay world champion Korea has their 3 members also in the first quarter. Great Britain with 2 inside the top20 and Germany with 5 pentathletes in the top50 are the other countries highlights in the year-end rankings
London Olympic champion Laura Asadauskaite regained the world #1 status as quickly as her legs. The Lithuanian sport idol finished the 2009 season as world leader in the rankings and missed the 2010 season due to pregnancy, coming back in the 2011 season. The happy and awarded mom is 20 points ahead of second place, Brazilian Yane Marques, who collected two important bronze medals this year, at Olympic Games and World Cup Final (Chengdu) – in both competitions Asadauskaite was the winner. The Lithuanian also won the European Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, while Yane was crowned Panamerican champion in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
British Samantha Murray, who won a silver medal at home and kept the British tradition in women’s modern pentathlon at Olympics, also counts on her third place at World Championships (Rome) to stand in third place in the rankings. The world champion, British Mhairi Spence, is only the 6th, behind Chinese Qian (2nd at World Championships) and Belarusian Prokopenko (winner of WC#4). Still in the top10, there are Aussie sensation Chloe Esposito, 2008 Olympic gold Lena Schoneborn (winner of WC#1) and triple world champion Amelie Caze (winner of WC#3). Beijing Olmpics medalist Heather Fell is the third British in the list, at 10th position.
The strong nations this year were Great Britain (with an impressive mark of 7 pentathletes within the top50), Hungary (3 inside top25), Germany (4 within the best 30), Ukraine (4 inside top40) and Russia (5 inside top50).