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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Modern Pentathlon: Schleu (GER), Choong (GBR) and Lifanov (ROC) star in Fencing

Modern Pentathlon

The long wait is over, but the drama has only just begun.

With a Fencing Ranking Round for women and men, the Modern Pentathlon competition got underway at the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Musashino Forest Sports Plaza.

Annika Schleu of Germany was the undoubted star of the women’s round – fighting off rivals from inside and outside her own team to post a score that is likely to be confirmed as an Olympic record tomorrow.

Schleu (GER) initially trailed behind team-mate Rebecca Langrehr (GER) on the scoreboard but the UIPM 2021 Pentathlon World Cup Final silver medallist went on an irrepressible run, winning a long sequence of bouts at the end to finish with 29 victories and only six defeats.

It gave her a 30-point lead in the standings, with Sehee Kim of Korea finishing nearest to the leader on 24V/11D and Natalya Coyle of Ireland and Uliana Batashova (ROC) just one victory further behind. Alice Sotero of Italy lay in 5th place after scoring 21V/14D.

Langrehr (GER) finished among a group of athletes on 20V/15D alongside world No.1 Michelle Gulyas of Hungary, while two-time world champion Anastasiya Prokopenko of Belarus (18V/17D)  stayed in contention among the pack. Her team-mate Volha Silkina (BLR) would have joined Sotero (ITA) in a tie for 5th had she not incurred a 10-point penalty.

Schleu (GER) said: “Amazing. This is the first time I finished first in fencing. I am just overwhelmed and I think I will realise it in the next hour.

“I will try to get my nerves to survive until tomorrow. It is just unbelievable. Everything I tried made sense, everything touched.

“If I am honest, I am a little scared as well. I hope I manage to stay calm and concentrate on every discipline tomorrow. We don’t know the horse and in the Riding, dreams can just die. You can go from first to last place.”

The men’s competition was tighter at the top, with a runaway leader reined in. Joseph Choong of Great Britain dominated the leaderboard for much of the session but was finally matched by Alexander Lifanov (ROC) on 25V/10D.

There will be very little to separate the top 10 when the men resume on Saturday (August 6), with even 10th-placed world champion Adam Marosi (HUN) only 30 points behind the leaders. There was a tie for 3rd between Ilya Palazkov (BLR) and Justinas Kinderis of Lithuania.

Choong (GBR) said: “It was OK. I'm only a fifth of the way through the competition. There are still four other sports to go.

"I've obviously done my job today. It's gone as well as I could have hoped. I'm going to get back, recover, and focus on the four other sports. It's really exciting.

“The horse course looks fantastic. The jumps are awesome. I'm really looking forward to it."

Tomorrow (August 6) the competition will resume with the Women’s Swimming – held for the first time in the main Olympic Games venue at Tokyo Stadium.

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