Olympic-level athletes to decide 2014 Modern Pentathlon World Cup Final in Sarasota-Bradenton

Olympic-level athletes to decide series title in Manatee-Sarasota

jdill@bradenton.comJune 6, 2014 

Five sports, one competition.

That's what spectators will witness this week at the 2014 Modern Pentathlon World Cup Final held at the Sarasota Polo Club in Lakewood Ranch and the Selby Aquatic Center in Sarasota.

The athletes participating are the elite in their sport, with several former Olympians and future Olympic hopefuls competing.

The four-day event began Thursday night with opening ceremonies at John Mable Ringling Museum of Art and continues with the women's competition Friday. The five sports are fencing, swimming, riding (equestrian), running and shooting.

Organizers hope to grow the sport by bringing it to a new area and have committed to revisiting the area in the future.

"When we decided to go to Sarasota, there was a meaning behind to come to a new society," Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) President Dr. h.c. Klaus Schormann said. "I think this is a fantastic opportunity for us for this World Cup Final, and then also the next years for a World Cup. A real big World Cup with many, many more athletes. This is only now the top, the crystal, of the World Cup season in this year."

The World Cup Final is the last piece to a series of events that took place earlier this year. The series included stops in Mexico, Egypt, China and Hungary. A

total of 36 men and 36 women are here, looking to earn medals in the men's, women's and mixed relay competitions.

Schormann said some of the competitors will be in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

"These are the athletes that have been competing two or three times already in the Olympic Games," Schormann said. "… We have some athletes (it's their) fifth time competing in the Olympic Games. Over 20 years of high-level performance, so that means something. If you are 40 years old, you still can win. It's not a question of age; it's a question of experience."

While Schormann's position as the UIPM president left him unable to list any favorites this week, there are a few athletes to watch.

They include America's Margaux Isaksen, who is ranked No. 7 in the world for women and is one of two U.S. representatives this week. Isaksen finished the 2013 World Cup Series in third place.

Lithuania's Laura Asadauskaite is the reigning Olympic gold medalist, and she won gold at the 2013 World Championships as well as being ranked No. 1 in the world.

Another top female competitor is Poland's Oktawia Nowacka, who is riding a hot streak with her last three World Cup Series events resulting in first-, second- and second-place finishes.

On the men's side, Lithuania's Justinas Kinderis is the one to watch. He is the top-ranked male in the sport and the reigning world champ.

America's best chance at a medal lies with Nathan Schrimsher, who took gold in the junior division of the 2011 U.S. National Championships.

"They are the best athletes of the world," Schormann said. "Everybody of these finalists have a chance to win a medal or to be on the podium."

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