The long road to the Paris Olympic games began in Egypt on Tuesday afternoon for Ireland’s pentathletes as Sive Brassil and Isobel Radford Dodd kicked off their seasons at the UIPM 2023 Pentathlon World Cup Cairo.
In a stacked field for the first elite event of the season it proved to be a testing day in the Women’s Individual competition for the Irish duo with neither able to crack the top 18 in their Qualification Group A to progress to the Semi-Final. There were nonetheless plenty of positives to take from the Egyptian capital.
Radford Dodd was making her senior World Cup debut in the pressurised environment of the first event of Olympic qualification cycle — the season-ending World Cup Final in Turkey will see the first automatic qualification spots for Paris up for grabs. But the 20-year-old from Greystones showed few nerves as she finished 24th in her qualification group, one spot ahead of her experienced compatriot Brassil.
Brassil, ranked 28th in the world after a stellar 2022 season, endured a particularly frustrating start to this campaign as the Fencing Ranking Round didn’t go her way with just six victories and 26 defeats putting her on the back foot from the get-go. Radford Dodd however recorded a very impressive performance on the piste, where she excelled as a junior, racking up 18 victories and 14 defeats.
Brassil put her Fencing disappointment behind her in short order to bounce back in the Swimming discipline, the 29-year-old from Galway finishing eighth-fastest in a time of 2:19.28. Radford Dodd was again in the top half of the field as she clocked 2:25.99 in the pool.
At the culminating Laser Run, Brassil again showed her true pedigree as she finished fourth-fastest in a time of 12:10.80 but it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit carried forward from the Fencing round as she finished 25th in the group with a final tally of 996 points. Radford Dodd completed the combined discipline in 12:58.30 ensuring she broke the 1000-point mark with 1007, enough to see her finish a hugely promising 24th.
The top 18 athletes from each of the A and B Qualification groups progressed to Thursday’s semi-finals with World No.1 Michelle Gulyas the one to catch for a star-studded chasing pack at UIPM 2023 Pentathlon World Cup Cairo.
The 2023 World Cup will continue next month with the second leg of the season taking place in Turkey before competitions in Hungary and Bulgaria and the World Cup Final in Ankara, which starts May 31.
Visit the UIPM website or download “UIPM Central” from your app store to keep track of competitions and live results throughout the year