Reigning World and Olympic Champion Laura Asadauskaite from Lithuania demonstrated her full range of skills with a scintillating display of technique, agility and outright speed as she claimed gold at the UIPM Modern Pentathlon World Cup #2 in the Egyptian capital Cairo.
It was neck and neck throughout the first discipline of the day in the Women’s Final at the Police Academy with nothing to separate the fencers on the pistes. At the midway point, it was USA’s Margaux Isaksen who was sharing top spot with Ekaterina Khuraskina and these two classy pentathletes were demonstrating impressive expertise in the handling of their epees.
The pressure was then cranked up by China’s Qian Chen who recorded a series of successive wins to surge ahead with ten bouts to go. World No.1 Laura Asadauskaite also found her swagger at the right time to keep pace with the Chinese 27-year-old. It was then to stay like that until the end with these two taking the top two places. Chen claiming 256 points with her 26 victories.
Germany’s 2008 Beijing Olympic Champion Lena Schoneborn was another who did well in the latter stages of the fence and finished third overall. A position she shared with Russia’s Ekaterina Khuraskina and world record holder Xiaonan Zhang. Isaksen finished sixth on 238 points, level with London 2012 bronze medallist Yane Marques of Brazil and Poland’s Oktawia Nowacka.
An impressive performance by Chen in the third heat in the pool, with a time of 2:15.52, saw her add 270 points on the board. In the fourth heat, Yane Marques clocked 2:15.73. In the fifth and final heat, Russia’s Gulnaz Gubaydullina showcased her speed, gliding across the water to win the event with a time of 2:09.53.
In the ride, the quality horses made for a spectacular show with all single jumps at 1,10m high plus one double and one triple jump section to manage. Janine Kohlmann of Germany was one of five athletes to record perfect scores. Poland’s Oktawia Nowacka, who had begun the equestrian event in second place overall, moved up to first before the combined, level with China’s Chen. Isaksen and Asadauskaite were equal in third.
Being so close to the start of the run/shoot event gave the famously quick Asadauskaite the perfect platform with which to show her blistering speed and deadly accuracy with the pistol. She was first away from the range in the second round of shooting then stepped on the gas. Chen, Nowacka and Isaksen managed somehow to keep the Lithuanian mother-of-one in their sights.
Chen pegged back Asadauskaite in the last passage at the range but in the first straight, the World Champion accelerated and left her rival trailing to go on to victory unchallenged in the final 800m.
There was a real battle for positions behind the Chinese as Nowacka and Isaksen again increased the pace. The Pole, who had two days earlier claimed victory in one of the qualification groups, overtook Chen to take silver as the diminutive Chinese settle for bronze. Isaksen was fourth as Russian duo Rimasaite and Khuraskina finished fifth and sixth overall. The top 6 all took home prize money.
In the team competition, Lithuania took first place ahead of China and Russia (standings).
Tomorrow now sees the Men compete in their Final (Schedule Men’s Final fence – swim start list) before the Mixed Relay on Sunday when the UIPM and Modern Pentathlon family will celebrate the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.