It looks like everyone is excited to know this new venue, as there is an unprecedented huge field for a World Cup outside Europe with over 170 pentathletes, featuring the top performers of the world; there are more than 30 countries sending their delegations to the United States with their full strength.
The hosts’ excellence in organizing competitions is the only safe bet, as athletes will have a warm and comfortable environment to do their best and try to reach or even beat their own personal aims.
Such a stellar line-up is a great start for this promising season that will feature the centennial of the sport and London Olympic Games. Too bad there’s room for only 72 of them in the finals, so we can already expect in the first two days of competition a great action in the qualification with the usual thrill and drama it provides.
Current rankings should be considered only for the qualification draws as many pentathletes who recently dropped in the rankings will try to get back to their best days. Some fans can be disappointed because their favourites won’t make the finals, but how not to enjoy the weekend with a high quality field and then just few places for the glory, following the ups and downs through the day and even in each event?
Beyond the packed World Cup series and World Championships, in this extraordinary year many attentions will be directed to the Olympic Games in August. For those pentathletes who made themselves eligible for the Olympic Games, it’s about keeping their good form and impressing both their opponents for a mental edge and their federations when the talented team has more than two athletes per gender already qualified (or expected to meet the qualification standards by the middle of this year).
For those who are still in their quest for the Olympic Games, there’s still a long and hard road to walk and no chance can be wasted, and they will try to make sure they have a good start since the new Olympians qualified through competitions and rankings will be known only by May and June and a lot of action will happen until then.
In such a quality field, the highlights are the current World champions, Russian Andrei Moiseev (double Olympic gold), Ukrainian Victoria Tereshuk, and the world ranking leaders Aleksander Lesun from Russia and Lena Schoneborn from Germany.
However, this is a new season and there’s so much at stake so we can expect some of the favourites to be down and underdogs to make their breakthrough and shine. The traditional Polish and Czech teams had a quite poor year in 2011 for their standards and may be worried about their chances of missing the Olympic Games.
The regional and national duels are also a good prospect for the American event and later during the year. Korean and Chinese team come with their strong teams looking for new places at the podium; youngsters Lesun and Karyakin and their teammates Moiseev and Frolov have actually chances of denying any other country a place in the men’s podium and at the girls’ side the strong British team can do the same.
Egypt’s best hope is still Aya Medany, but the talented male’s team is willing to be back to their best days and put another athelete in the team along with Yasser Hefny. Within 3 weeks we can follow live the first event of the World Cup series of this special year and like in the one-day competition itself, a good start is always important to build the performance, but is always needed to keep it up later to cross the finish line in a good position.