Modern Pentathlon 2014 World Cup Final | Poland's Nowacka runs away with gold

jdill@bradenton.comJune 7, 2014 

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Oktawia Nowacka entered the last event of the women's portion to the 2014 Modern Pentathlon World Cup Final in third place.

When Nowacka turned on her afterburners in the running segment, there was little doubt where the gold medal would end up.

Nowacka, who hails from Poland, continued her hot streak with a second gold-medal performance in four World Cup Series meets when she racked up 1,337 points to capture the women's title Friday at the Sarasota Polo Club.

"It was (a) long day," Nowacka said. "Everything was not good, and not bad. Fencing can be better. Swimming was very good."

Athletes competed in five disciplines: tackling 35 fencing matches, swimming 200 meters, performing in equestrian show-jumping and the final combined event of running and pistol shooting.

Nowacka said her strength is running, but anything can happen when shooting also is involved.

"So I never know what will be," Nowacka said.

She snagged the gold medal ahead of defending Olympic champion Laura Asadauskaite (silver medal with 1,323 points) and China's Qian Chen (bronze medal with 1,320 points).

Asadauskaite, of Lithuania, began the combined event in 14th place, but vaulted up the leaderboard with steady running and shooting. She eventually crept up to second place after Hungary's Sarolta Kovacs, who started the last event in first place, faded and she held off Chen on the final lap.

Meanwhile, American Margaux Isaksen began the combined event in fourth place. Her downfall came in her weakest area: shooting.

Competitors had to hit the target five times prior to beginning an 800-meter lap. It was done four times.

"It's all about shooting for me," Isaksen said. "Even when I look at my entire day of pentathlon, I know that shooting is the thing that is holding me back. I'm a very strong fencer, I'm a decent swimmer, I'm a good rider and a great runner. ... I feel very confident in every other aspect of the sport; it's just shooting."

Isaksen struggled in the first shooting series, leaving the area in 10th place.

She ultimately took eighth with 1,287 points.

"It's definitely hard when you have such a disastrous shoot," Isaksen said. "I knew after my first shoot that chances of winning were probably long gone, which is unfortunate. It was just, I didn't handle the pressure (Friday). That's all there is to it."

The Modern Pentathlon World Cup Final continues with the men's competition Saturday and concludes Sunday with mixed competition.

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