UIPM 2021 Pentathlon World Cup Budapest: 13-year-old Ohta (JPN) in stunning win
- Teenager from Olympic Games host nation achieves joint highest qualification score
- Senior debut becomes fairytale on opening day of elite Modern Pentathlon season
- Clouvel (FRA), French (GBR) and Prokopenko (BLR) also among top scorers
A 13-year-old from Japan caused a sensation on the opening day of the UIPM Modern Pentathlon season by winning her qualification group and cruising into the Women’s Final.
Natsu Ohta (JPN) burst onto the global scene at the UIPM 2019 Youth World Championships when she won gold in the Under 17 Women’s Relay alongside her sister Kaede – but this achievement was on another level altogether.
On her senior debut, Ohta (JPN) was competitive in Swimming (2:13.15) and Fencing (12V/14D) – but it was far from guaranteed that she would secure one of the 36 places in the Final from that position.
Surrounded by athletes of the calibre of 2019 world silver medallist Elena Micheli of Italy, 2017 World Cup Final winner Tamara Alekszejev of Hungary and Laser Run world record holder Ilke Ozyuksel of Turkey, the final challenge of the day might have overawed other young athletes.
But not young Natsu.
Far from succumbing to the pressure of her first senior Laser Run, Ohta (JPN) scorched around the course to record the fastest time of her heat (12:07.00) and cross the line first to book her place in Friday’s Final. Her total score of 1,059 points – matched only by Elena Potapenko of Kazakhstan – was the joint-highest of the 80 athletes taking part on the opening day of the UIPM 2021 Pentathlon World Cup season.
With Riding added into the mix on Friday and her fellow 35 finalists leaving nothing in the tank, the prodigious youth might find it tough to replicate her success but her remarkable performance today suggests a bright future lies ahead – and there is even a possibility that Ohta (JPN) could qualify to represent the host nation in the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Elsewhere, world No.1 and Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist, Elodie Clouvel of France, was among the pacesetters along with world No.3 Kate French of Great Britain and 2018 world champion and Beijing 2008 bronze medallist Anastasiya Prokopenko of Belarus.
Pentathlon World Cup Budapest continues tomorrow (March 25) with qualifying for the Men's Individual Final. The finals take place from March 26-28.
The list of qualified athletes for the Women's Individual Final is:
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