Sarasota-Bradenton "fantastic" in hosting 2014 Modern Pentathlon

srocco@bradenton.comJune 10, 2014 

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Christopher Patte of France takes on Woojin Hwang of South Korea in the men's fencing ladder event on Saturday during the Modern Pentathlon 2014 World Cup Final at the Sarasota Polo Club. GRANT JEFFERIES/Bradenton Herald

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LAKEWOOD RANCH -- As 72 athletes, their coaches and international dignitaries board planes to return home to different parts of the world, they leave behind a seal of approval on Sarasota-Bradenton, host cities for the 2014 Pentathlon World Cup Final.

Rob Stull, chief executive officer of USA Pentathlon, called the region's execution of the games "fantastic."

"Of the major issues and things that really matter, you guys knocked it out of the park," Stull said.

The world-class competition, held Thursday through Sunday at The Selby Aquatic Center and the Sarasota Polo Club, drew a total of 6,000 visitors, David Host, USA Pentathlon spokesman, told the Herald on Sunday.

Klaus Schormann, president, Union International de Pentathlon Modern, he said was awed by the community support.

"The support of these communities coming together for this event was very very special for us," Schormann said. "You are all now a part of the Modern Pentathlon family and it's great to have new friends and new supporters.

"It was organized beautifully. We had excellent horses, venues, accommodations, transportation, food and, of course, the weather," he added.

The World Cup Final featured five events: swimming, equestrian show-jumping, fencing, running and pistol shooting. The competition showcases the top 36 male and 36 female pentathlon athletes from around the world who are striving to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.

Katherine Harris, executive director of Sarasota-Bradenton Pentathlon, the local organizing committee, said she was thrilled with how the games unfolded.

"This was a first time event. Most people in the United States don't know what pentathlon is," Harris said. "It was an introduction to our community."

Barry Marchett, chairman of the board of directors for USA Pentathlon described the Polo grounds where part of the event was held "a world-class venue."

"Unequivocally this was the best Modern Pentathlon World Cup Final ever held in the United States," he said. "The local organizing committee did a fantastic job planning the event; the volunteers did a fantastic job running the event; and, without Katherine Harris, none of this would have happened."

Harris is spending Monday and Tuesday hosting additional fencing matches to allow the Union International de Pentathlon Moderne, the international governing body for pentathlon, to test Olympic equipment.

"I'm still in go mode," Harris said, adding that she can not immediately release economic impact numbers. "Until I get through this and can close the drapes, I have to keep moving forward."

Nicole Rissler, director of sports for Visit Sarasota County, said Sarasota-Bradenton Pentathlon has not released the estimated economic impact from the games, but she allowed that visiting athletes, dignitaries and spectators booked a total of 1,000 hotel room nights over the course of the event.

Sabrina Rocco, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7024. Follow @sabrinarocco on Twitter.

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