2016 Olympic Games Modern Pentathlon Qualified Athletes
Qual. Comp Men Women
1. 2015 W Cup Final Riccardo De Luca (ITA) Laura Asadauskaite (LTU)
2. Continental Champs
Africa (1) Eslam Hamad (EGY) Haydy Morsy (EGY)
Asia (5) Woongtae Jun (KOR) Quian Chen (CHN)
Donggi Lee (KOR) Sunwoo Kim (KOR)
Haihang Su (CHN) Wanxia Liang (CHN)
Zhongrong Cao (CHN) Natsumi Tomonaga (JPN)
Tomoya Miguchi (JPN) Elena Potapenko (KAZ)
Oceania (1) Max Esposito (AUS) Chloe Esposito (AUS)
Pan America (5)Charles Fernandez (GUA) Yane Marques (BRA)
inc. S. America (1) Emanuel Zapata (ARG) Tamara Vega (MEX)
Norceca (1) Hernandez Uscanga (MEX) Mayan Oliver (MEX)
Nathan Schrimsher (USA) Donna Vakalis (CAN)
Jose Figueroa (CUB) Melanie McCann (CAN)
Europe (8) Arthur Lannigan-O’Keeffe (IRL) Elodie Clouvel (FRA)
Valentin Prades (FRA) Lena Schoneborn (GER)
David Svoboda (CZE) Gulnaz Gubaydullina (RUS)
Robert Kasza (HUN) Oktawia Nowacka (POL)
Egor Puchkarevskiy (RUS) Janine Kohlmann (GER)
Joe Choong (GBR) Anastasiya Spas (UKR)
Valentin Belaud (FRA) Kate French (GBR)
Jan Kuf (CZE) Alice Sotero (ITA)
3. 2015 W Champs
Pavlo Tymoschenko (UKR) Donata Rimsaite (RUS)
Aleks Lesun (RUS) Samantha Murray (GBR)
Andriy Fedechko (UKR) Sarolta Kovacs (HUN)
4. 2016 W Champs Jinwa Jung (KOR)
World Rankings 1/6/16 6 6
Host country – Brazil 1 1
Tripartite Commission Invite 2 2
THE ROCKY ROAD TO RIO
Now that the 2015 qualification season is over 23 men and 23 women have already earned their Olympic places. Or have they? It’s a disturbing fact that of the eight European men who qualified for the last Olympics, only three finally took their places on the start line the following year. The reason for this anomaly is that each competing nation may field a maximum of only two men and two women. In 2012 that rule resulted in a bizarre outcome: the first two Russians to qualify via the European Championships - recent World Champions, Alex Frolov (2008) and Sergei Karyakin (2010) – were both excluded because fellow World Champions, Andrei Mosieev (2011) and Alex Lesun (2012) were Russia’s final Olympic choices.
In 2015 no country has qualified more than two men or two women for Rio and so the prospect of major changes to the qualified list seems much less likely this time around. The Continental system of qualification ensures a wide range of countries will be represented in the final 36 and this is good for the future of the sport. Of course, the overall standard will be lower than it would be at a World Championship but Modern Pentathlon is so rich in talent that there is no concern about a minimum standard; nobody competing in Rio will let the sport down.
The Continental qualifying competitions often produce strange results and this year is no exception. Internationally-established athletes often fall foul of youthful enthusiasm on home ground. For instance, in the African Championships, 2013 World Championship silver medallist Amro El-Geziry and triple Olympian Aya Medany finished second to lesser-known opponents both of whom overtook their heroes in the final event. Africa has only one slot per gender allocated for Rio.
In Asia, youngsters Woongtae Jun and Donggi Lee were the Korean qualifiers, eclipsing experienced Olympians Jinhwa Jung and Woojin Hwang. The leading Chinese athlete, Jianli Guo, failed to make the cut but veteran 2012 Olympic silver medallist, Zhongrong Cao ( ‘Uncle Cao’ to his team mates) came out of retirement to secure his place in Rio. Towering above the women qualifiers is Quian Chen – World Champion in 2009 and silver medallist no fewer than three times since then (2012, 2014, 2015).
Two impressive teenagers have qualified in the men’s event by winning their Continental qualifiers. Guatemalan, Charles Fernandez, is in very strong form and riding high in the world rankings. Max Esposito, the young Australian, confounded all expectations by beating everyone in the Oceania /Asia qualifier. Other strong outings in the World Cup this year confirm him as a real contender. His older and more experienced sister, Chloe, made sure of her place in the same competition and her bronze medal in the World Cup Final this year shows her potential, too. Though 2012 Olympic veterans, Yane Marques and Tamara Vega qualified in Toronto, the shock exclusion was Olympic fourth placed Margaux Isaksen who must now qualify through the remaining opportunities.
The European Championships men’s event was won in style by the Irishman, Arthur Lannigan-O’Keeffe who has been on the verge of greatness for some time and chose his moment to cement his stake for Olympic gold. World Champion, Pavlo Tymoschenko, chose not to attend and among, the qualifiers was Olympic Champion, David Svoboda, who, like Zhongrong Cao, has made an impressive Olympic comeback after three silent years. For Great Britain, 20 year old Joe Choong, is another youngster for whom the sky is the limit.
Among the women, if ever there was a hot tip for Olympic gold in this most unpredictable of sports, it is Laura Asadauskaite. Laura’s extraordinary ability in the Combined Event to come from the back of the field to win reminds us of Britain’s Steph Cook’s feat in taking the inaugural women’s Olympic event in 2000 in similar style. Laura is Olympic(2012) and World Champion (2013) and this year’s World Cup winner, and only 2008 Olympic Champion, Lena Schoneborn, could deny Laura the World Championship as well this year. 2014 World Champion, Samantha Murray has had a quieter season this year (though the winner of World Cup #1) but, having qualified thanks to her 5th place in the World Championship this year, her European Championship dip in form mattered less and allowed team mate Kate French to join her on the qualifiers’ list.
There are still some big names yet to qualify: among the men -2013 World Champion Justinas Kinderis (LTU); Olympic bronze medallist, Adam Marosi (HUN); former World Champion, Ilya Frolov (RUS); World Cup Winner #2, Ruslan Nakonechnyi (LAT) and, of course, Britain’s Jamie Cooke, himself a World Cup (#1) winner this year. Among the women the obvious omission is Zsofia Foldhazi (HUN) who is No: 2 in the world rankings while Margaux Isaksen (USA) and Gloria Tocchi (ITA) have also yet to make their mark. Finally, we are all keeping our fingers crossed that the two great Latvians, Elena Rublevska and Denis Cerkovskis, each of them four-time-Olympians might make it into their fifth Olympic Games next year. They are both still regular finalists in big competitions and wily enough competitors to take on their younger opponents.