Natalya began with fencing and showed some good form with a scoring rate of 50%. Her 20 victories and 20 defeats gave her a pentathlon score of 840 for 10th place in the women’s event. Meanwhile, the men’s event began in the pool. Eanna was seeded in heat 4th and Arthur in heat 5. Eanna dominated his heat and posted his fastest time of the season at 2:02,66 (1328penthlon points). Arthur also produced a seasons best of 2:03,33 for 1320 pentathlon points. Eanna was ranked 8th and Arthur 9th after their first event.
The women’s competition headed to the pool whilst the men began their fencing event. Natalya was seeded as one of the slower athletes in heat 2. In an impressive display, Natalya took the heat on and completely dominated it, finishing 3seconds clear of the next athlete. Natalya’s time of 2:17,35 is a massive four second personal best and rewarded her with 1152 pentathlon points and was the 7th quickest time from the women’s swim event. This shifted her up the leader board to 9th.
The men’s fencing was a high quality field and Irish athletes did extremely well and showed some excellent improvements in their fencing ability compared with the same competition 12months ago. Arthur was excellent, scoring 19victories and 15defeats for a massive 880pentathlon points and the 11th best fencing score from the men’s competition. Eanna was also in good form and scored 15victories and 19defeats for 784pentathlon points. After two events, Arthur was placed 12th and Eanna 19th.
The women’s ride was the final event for Saturday. Natalya drew a horse called Domotor which had just one fence down with the Austrian athlete who rode it in the first round. Natalya rode well and was unfortunate to knock two fences. She finished the ride within the allowed time resulting in a score of 1160pentathlon points. After three events, Natalya was in 9th position on a total of 3152points.
Sunday morning began with the Men’s riding event. With just four athletes riding clear rounds within the time, the ride proved a little tricky for some athletes. Eanna was unfortunate to draw a horse called Obeliszk who we’d seen acting up the previous day with one of the female athletes. Unfortunately for Eanna, Obeliszk seemed to have taken a disliking to one particular fence and refused to jump it on two attempts, this was doubly frustrating for Eanna as the rest of the round was perfect. The two run outs cost Eanna 120penalty points and left him with a ride score of 1080. Meanwhile, Arthur lucked out drawing a horse called Arpad who had been ridden clear by the female athletes the previous day. After a lovely start to the ride, both Arpad and Arthur seemed to be enjoying the round a little too much with Arthur seeing some long strides on approach to the fences. The forward nature of the round meant that Arthur overshot the turn to the dog leg fence and cost him 40points. Arthur completed the round one second over the allocated time which gave him a four point penalty. Arthur’s total score for the ride was 1156 pentathlon points. Despite Arthur’s disappointment with his round, he actually moved one place up the leader board to 11th whilst Eanna dropped to 23rd.
The combined event was the first competition where the Irish athletes would be competing with the new laser pistols. The laser pistols were first introduced to pentathlon last summer at the Youth Olympics where they trialled the technology. The idea of laser pistols has been introduced for both safety and environmental reasons. Athletes were given a slightly longer warm up period to allow for the adjustment to the laser pistols.
Eanna was the first of the Irish athletes to compete and seemed to handle the laser well hitting his first five targets in six shots and in 19seconds. Coming to the second shoot, he struggled to hit his first target, missing with his first four shots. He completed the second shoot series in a disappointing 41seconds. Not one to let that get the better of him, Eanna came back strong with a storming shoot in the third series taking six shots and clearing the five targets in an impressive 17seconds. Strong running on an indoor running track/sports hall track saw Eanna post a time of 11:21 for 2276 pentathlon points. Eanna would have to wait for the second men’s heat to run before he’d know his overall finish position for the competition.
Arthur started 11th in the combined event, just 44seconds off the leader. Arthur seemed to struggle to find his rhythm on the first shoot, taking 9shots and 31seconds to hit the five targets. After a strong lap on the run, Arthur returned to the range in a more determined state and nailed the 5targets in just 5shots and 14seconds. His final shoot series was completed in 8shots and 26seconds. Arthur’s final time for the run/shoot was 11:06 which gave him 2336 and saw him maintain his start position of 11th. Eanna strong combined promoted him to 19th position overall.
With just one heat for the women’s competition, Natalya was starting in 9th position and exactly one minute behind the competition leader. Despite a technical issue with the laser on her first shoot, Natalya managed to keep her cool and left the range after 9shots and 26seconds. Keeping within the pack for the first run lap, she came back onto the range well placed for the second shoot. Good rhythm on the range was rewarded with a superfast shoot time of 17seconds. The final shoot saw several athletes come to the range at the same time, Natalya nailed the first four shots straight off but struggled to hit the last taking another 3shots to do so. Amazingly, other athletes seemed to struggle on the final shoot and Natalya’s final shoot of 22seconds saw her jump up the places for the final run lap. Strong running over the whole course saw Natalya finish the combined run/shoot in a time of 12:28 for 2008 pentathlon points and she crossed the line in 5th position.
Unfortunately, Natalya wasn’t able to celebrate after crossing the line as some technical issues with the lasers had meant the competition had been delayed and we were in danger of missing our flight home. Natalya literally did her warm down jog to the minibus waiting outside. Thankfully it was all worth it and we made the check in desk with a couple of minutes to spare with Natalya still red faced and in her running kit!
This was a great competition for all three athletes with some very impressive performances. This competition was in the calendar as a final warm up competition before the start of the 2011 pentathlon season and it’s good to see the athletes finding some form in the run up to the first World Cup competition in Palm Springs at the end of February. The same trio of athletes will travel to the USA on Saturday 19th February with the competition beginning on 24th. We wish the athletes the best with their final preparations for this competition.
Results are on the UIPM web site http://www.pentathlon.org/results/competition-results