Road to Tokyo: Kinderis (LTU) gets in shape for third Olympics in Cairo (EGY)
Justinas Kinderis of Lithuania is one of the most experienced pentathletes on the UIPM circuit today. Now aged 32 and ranked 11 in the world, he got his first taste of gold at the Pentathlon World Championships in 2010 in Chengdu (CHN). Three years later he claimed the Men’s Individual crown in Kaoshiung (CHN), a year after finishing 8th at the London 2012 Olympic Summer Games.
Far from fading away in his 30s, like his compatriot Laura Asadauskaite he goes from strength to strength. In 2017 in Cairo he won bronze in the World Championships to take his tally in the competition to seven medals, alongside nine European Championships medals.
He is a strong role model for a whole new generation of pentathletes who are trying to break through and finding Justinas Kinderis standing in their path. A formidable opponent.
Q: How does it feel to be starting the season at Pentathlon World Cup Cairo where you won bronze in 2019?
A: I already forgot about that medal and am trying to concentrate on my next goals. I am sure this year it won’t be the same competition, because from now every Pentathlon World Cup will have Olympic ranking points, so it means a big fight between athletes who don’t have quota places for the Olympics.
Q: What do you like about Cairo as a venue?
A: Lithuanians are always happy to have some sun after winter. So Cairo always gives us that. Talking about the venue, I like that they have everything in one place here. Most of the time I like the running course. It’s always a little bit harder than other World Cups because they have sand or hills.
Q: What were your emotions when you secured a quota place for Tokyo 2020 at the 2019 European Championships?
A: My main goal in the 2019 season was to secure a quota place for Tokyo 2020. When I reached that goal the feeling was amazing. Before London 2012 and Rio 2016, I wasn’t lucky so I had to get my Olympic ticket through the Olympic ranking. After the Europeans I understood that this time I will have a chance to prepare differently, without so much pressure in World Cups and other competitions.
Q: What are your goals for the 2020 UIPM season?
A: This year I will compete in the main competitions, although sometimes plans can change. But of course the Olympics is my main goal. In London I took 8th place so this time I want to have a better position.
Q: It’s going to be your third Olympics. Will you prepare in any different ways this time?
A: I think in a similar way but without pressure. This year I will try to reach my best shape only before the Olympics, I am not the youngest pentathlete so it’s an advantage for me, as I have some more experience and competitions behind me than others.