Olympic, World and continental champions among outstanding entry list for 2019 Modern Pentathlon European Championships in Bath
Current modern pentathlon royalty is set to descend on the University of Bath early next month when the National Lottery-supported European Championships, a Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifier, take place at the Sports Training Village from August 6-11.
More than 150 athletes from 25 nations are now registered for the event, dubbed Gladiators Return in recognition of Bath’s Roman history and the gladiatorial battles across the five disciplines of swimming, fencing, horse-riding, running and laser shooting which feature in this Olympic sport.
The international line-up includes the reigning men’s Olympic champion, Alexander Lesun of Russia, the reigning European men’s and women’s champions – Marie Oteiza and Valentin Prades of France – and the reigning women’s World Champion Anastasiya Propenko of Belarus. Propenko is also joined in Bath by the 2019 women’s World silver and bronze medallists – Annika Schleu of Germany and Oteiza of France.
Competition next month for those continental crowns and medals will be fierce but Pentathlon GB will also be fielding a strong home team which could include its reigning men’s World Champion Jamie Cooke, the newly-crowned World Cup Final champion Joe Choong and 2019 World Cup gold-medallist and reigning European silver medallist Kate French. The GB team for the Championships is set to be announced shortly.
French said: “It’s a really exciting time for us and we’re hoping to build towards Olympic qualification places in Bath. I loved competing here four years ago, it was great to be able to compete somewhere you know so well and to have the home crowd to spur you on all the way to the finish line.”
Laura Asaudaskaite and Ireland’s Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe (pictured top) won the individual titles four years ago when the event was last in Bath and both will return to the fray once more in 2019. Asaudaskaite, the 2012 Olympic Champion, proved her recent form by winning the women’s World Cup Final in Tokyo.
The 2015 championships also marked the moment when French and Choong booked Rio 2016 places for the nation. This year, eight Tokyo men’s quota places and eight women’s places in the individual events will be on offer with Choong already having secured one place for GB in Tokyo with his World Cup Final win earlier this month.
Sara Heath, CEO of Pentathlon GB, said: “We now know that we have a stunning entry for the Europeans which will provide a tough test for the home team but also a feast of top names for the spectators. Everyone who comes to watch will see the tension of a major event, with medals and titles at stake, but they can also feel part of the Olympic journey.”
Event Director Rebecca Leach added: “When I saw the calibre of the entry, it made all the hard work behind the scenes feel even more worthwhile. We have teams of volunteers arriving at the University soon and they also look set to feel part of something very special.”
Four days of action precedes the individual finals on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 August with medals to be awarded in the mixed relay (Tuesday 6) and the men’s and women’s relays (Wednesday 7). The individual qualifiers will be on Thursday 8 and Friday 9 August before the big weekend battles for continental crowns and Olympic qualifying places. The University provides one of the most compact competition venues for modern pentathlon with all facilities on site.