It was the Women’s semi-finals at the UIPM Modern Pentathlon World Cup #2 Cairo today with two qualification groups deciding the 36 who would make into Friday’s Final. Perfect conditions at the Police Academy in the Egyptian capital made for an exciting and intriguing day with one a big upset on the cards.
Continuing her fine early season form, Poland’s Oktawia Nowacka dominated the Women’s Qualification Group ‘A’. The 23-year-old was irrepressible in the first discipline of the day as she claimed 26 victories on the pistes. A second place in the pool, with a time of 2:14.32, then put her in pole for the combined. Calm and composed, she shot well and was never under pressure, having started 39 seconds ahead of the chasing pack. In the end, she had amassed an impressive haul of 1013 points.
Nowacka told us, “I feel good. I am happy. My training camp at altitude has really helped me. I feel strong.” When asked about her ambitions in the Final, she was cautious, declaring, “We will see. I am not thinking of the Final. I just want to do good and focus one discipline at a time. But today I am happy.”
Second place went to Donata Rimsaite, the experienced Russian ran hard in the combined, recording the fifth fastest time overall. Italy’s Gloria Tocchi, who began the run/shoot in second place after taking second place with the epee and recording the ninth fastest time in the pool, finished third. The 2013 Junior World Champion runner-up will now have high hopes of reaching the podium on Friday.
Fastest in the water was the tall Chinese Yufei Bian, who ended the day sixth overall behind Japan’s Rena Shimazu and World No.1 Laura Asadauskaite of Lithuania. USA’s Margaux Isaksen was sixth overall.
Kenya’s Coral Hays, 15, making her debut at this level finished all the way down in 31st position in the Group but was happy to have taken part, “It was a good experience for me. I am happy not to come last. There were nerves before the fencing but I had fun and enjoyed myself.” She now travels home to compete at the British Schools’ National Biathlon Championships at the London 2012 Olympic Park.
Group ‘B’ saw 20-year-old Karolina Guzauskaite of Lithuania move up from ninth place on the combined starting grid to win the final event of the day after posting the fastest chrono around the course. Her time of 13:32 saw her finish 13 seconds ahead of second placed Lena Schoneborn from Germany and claim a total of 987 points in the process.
2008 Beijing Olympic gold medallist Schoneborn, who had earlier been victorious on the pistes with 24 bouts won in the fence, crossed the finish line just ahead of her compatriot Janine Kohlmann and Ukraine’s Iryna Khokhlova. Claudia Cesarini of Italy was fifth overall with Tamara Vega in sixth and the winner of the swim, Gulnaz Gubaydullina of Russia, ended her day in seventh position.
The big shock came as France’s Elodie Clouvel, who began the combined in third, finish all the way down in 23rd to miss out on a place in the Final.
Tomorrow’s sees the Men begin their Qualification groups.
- Wednesday 2 April – Women’s Qualification
- Thursday 3 April – Men’s Qualification
- Friday 4 April – Women’s Final
- Saturday 5 April – Men’s Final
- Sunday 6 April – Mixed Relay