UIPM 2021 Pentathlon World Cup Final: Top athletes have Olympics on their minds
- Tokyo 2020 dress rehearsal and qualification opportunity draws elite to Hungary
- Women’s field includes all athletes ranked in world top 15
- Intense selection battles in Belarus, Egypt, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary and Mexico teams
The long-awaited Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will feel a lot closer for the 72 athletes taking part in the UIPM 2021 Pentathlon World Cup Final over the next four days.
Not only are qualification and preparation opportunities running out for the world’s most versatile athletes, with only one elite competition to follow this one. Participants will also be able to treat this week’s event like a dress rehearsal for Tokyo 2020.
The schedule in Szekesfehervar (HUN) mirrors what the 36 female and 36 male Olympic qualifiers will find when they visit Japan for the rescheduled Games in early August, with the Fencing Ranking Round opening proceedings for all competitors on day one (May 13).
The remaining disciplines of the Women’s Final and Men’s Final (Swimming – Fencing Bonus Round – Riding – Laser Run) follow on May 14 and May 15 respectively, with the Mixed Relay bringing down the curtain on May 16.
Like the three previous UIPM competitions this season, the UIPM 2021 Pentathlon World Cup Final is being run according to a set of COVID-19 protocols designed to prioritise the health and safety of all participants – athletes, coaches, technical officials and organisers.
The protocols are applied to all aspects of the competition from inbound and outbound travel to accommodation and local transportation, with the intention of minimising risk of COVID-19 infections. Special publications including the Event Organizers Infection Prevention Guidelines and Operational Vade Mecum can be found at UIPM’s COVID-19 information page.
Ones to watch – Women
It is a mark of the cachet of the Pentathlon World Cup Final that all athletes numbered 1-15 in the women’s world rankings will be on the start line in Hungary. And the stakes could not be higher for the woman at the pinnacle.
The world No.1, Elodie Clouvel of France, has not yet secured a quota place for Tokyo 2020 and will be looking to reproduce the form that she produced to win silver at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Internal competition will again be intense in the Great Britain and Belarus teams, with three highly-ranked athletes jostling for two Olympic places in each case.
Kate French (GBR), Joanna Muir (GBR) and Francesca Summers (GBR) occupy 1st, 2nd and 4th places respectively in the Olympic World Rankings (OWR), while Beijing 2008 bronze medallist Anastasiya Prokopenko (BLR), Iryna Prasiantsova (BLR) and 2019 world champion Volha Silkina (BLR) sit 6th, 14th and 15th respectively.
Former World Cup Final winners in the field include London 2012 Olympic champion Laura Asadauskaite of Lithuania (2019), Tamara Alekszejev of Hungary (2017), while Gulnaz Gubaydullina of Russia, Annika Schleu of Germany and Elena Micheli of Italy have all scaled the podium at the Pentathlon World Championships.
Ones to watch – Men
In the absence of world No.1 and 2019 champion Joseph Choong (GBR) and No.2 Woongtae Jun of Korea, picking a winner in the Men’s Final could be even more difficult.
However, three former World Cup Final champions will be among those in Hungary looking to quench their thirst for medal success – James Cooke (GBR, 2016), Valentin Prades (FRA, 2017) and Jinhwa Jung (KOR, 2018).
Jung (KOR) is also a former world champion (2017) as is Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist Pavlo Tymoshchenko of Ukraine (2015), and another strong podium contender will be double world champion Valentin Belaud (FRA, 2016/2019).
Germany have three high-ranked athletes competing for two coveted Olympic places – brothers Patrick and Marvin Dogue and Fabian Liebig, while internal competition is also intense in the Egypt, Hungary and Mexico teams with various athletes looking for that magical moment that propels them towards Tokyo.
Road to Tokyo
With 46 quota places for the Olympic Modern Pentathlon allocated so far, and 72 places in total up for grabs, there are still opportunities for many of the world’s most versatile athletes to reach their coveted destination.
Six automatic quota places (three for women and three for men) will be on offer during the seasonal showpiece – the UIPM 2021 Pentathlon World Championships – taking place in Cairo (EGY) in June.
Before that, all 72 athletes competing in Szekesfehervar (HUN) this week can earn more qualification points for Tokyo 2020.
The athletes’ standing in terms of Tokyo 2020 is charted in the OWR, which will determine most of the remaining places at the Games. Click to see the latest rankings for women and men or download PDFs of the top 50.
UIPM President Dr Klaus Schormann commented: “The last 15 months have been very difficult because of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. On behalf of the UIPM Executive Board I commend our pentathletes on the way they have continued to train and compete with support from their clubs and federations, enabling us to host three well-prepared World Cups already this year in Budapest and Sofia.
“The athletes have already collected as many points as possible to improve their position at the UIPM Olympic World Ranking List. Now we have the best 72 athletes together at the UIPM 2021 Pentathlon World Cup Final where there will be Women’s and Men’s Finals and a Mixed Relay, and we all can expect an exciting competition in a spirit of fair play and respect without any manipulations.
“As well as this week’s showpiece competition we are also looking forward to the UIPM 2021 Pentathlon and Laser Run World Championships in Cairo in June and strongly focusing on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games taking place in July/August 2021.
“I am very happy to see our athletes here in Szekesfehervar competing at a high level and demonstrating again their exceptional skills. We are very grateful to our partners in Hungary that everything is so well prepared and I am thankful for all support from local and national government, from sponsors, supporters and all volunteers and not to forget the media.”
The UIPM 2021 Pentathlon World Cup Final begins on Thursday, May 13 with the Fencing Ranking Round for both women and men.
All other disciplines in the Women’s Final follow on Friday, May 14 with the Men’s Final coming to a conclusion on Saturday, May 15.
The competition then closes with the Mixed Relay on Sunday, May 16.
Watch and follow
As of March 15, 2021, the majority of Modern Pentathlon content on UIPM TV (UIPMTV.org) became available only to subscribers. Live coverage of the Laser Run in each competition – together with highlights from earlier in the day – remains free to view.
Annual subscriptions will be priced at €29.99 with a special 50% discount (code: UIPM50%OFF) available throughout 2021, reducing the price to €14.95.
- Sign up here for your UIPM TV Yearly Pass or register for free content
Viewers who do not wish to subscribe can register their details on the site to access the free coverage, which will not be available anywhere else online. More information.
Follow World Pentathlon on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram throughout the Pentathlon World Cup for additional content, and visit the UIPM website or download the “UIPM Central” app to keep track of results.