The Modern Pentathlon World Championships are being held in Rome, Italy this week. The individual event represents the final opportunity to qualify by name of the Olympic Games with the top three placed athletes (not previously qualified) claiming their place on the start line in London 2012. For the rest, valuable ranking points are available as athletes look to make a final push for Olympic places that will be allocated from the World rankings at the end of May.
Unusual scheduling for 2012 means that the Championships begin with the Relay competitions with the Women’s competition being contested on Monday and the Men’s on Tuesday. Ireland will not be represented in these but they will be one of 16 nations to contest the mixed relay competition on Wednesday. Ireland qualified a place in the relay by virtue of their high positions on the World ranking lists in the men’s and women’s event.
Eanna Bailey, who finished 14th the Russian World Cup last month, will be joined in the mixed relay by Sionann O’Reilly-Collins, the 17 yrs old from Kiltoom who is at Athlone Community College
O’Reilly-Collins, 17, from Athlone Community College, will be making her Senior debut for Ireland and will be an opportunity for her to gain huge experience at the top level in Pentathlon. For the relay, the athletes contest the same disciplines with slightly altered distances. In the fencing, each team fights for two hits against the respective gender opposition of all the other 15 teams. The swim is a straight forward two by 100m relay with the females swimming the first leg and the males taking the second leg. The riding is a shorter than normal course with just seven fences. The athletes draw a pair of horses and can choose between them who rides which horse. After the standard 20minute warm up and five practice fences, athletes complete the Show Jumping course in a relay format with the waiting athletes remaining in an enclosed area for the change over. The final combined event is again done in relay form with females taking the lead leg. Athletes are required to complete five successful shots and a one kilometre run twice through before handing over to their male team mate to repeat the same task.
The Women’s individual qualifying will take place on Thursday where Ireland’s Natalya Coyle will be hoping to be one of 12 athletes from each of the qualification groups who will progress to the final on Saturday. With 76 athletes heading to Rome for the World Championships, this will be a tough test but one that Coyle will need to come through to strengthen her position on the World rankings for the Olympic qualification.
The Men’s individual qualification will follow on Friday with Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe and Eanna Bailey flying the Irish flag. Lanigan-O’Keeffe has shown good form in 2012 making the finals at the three World Cup competitions and placing well in finals. Having suffered a slight muscle strain and withdrawing from the Russian World Cup, Lanigan-O’Keeffe will be hoping to safely navigate the qualification rounds. Bailey will also be full of confidence having qualified for the final in the Russian World Cup and finishing an impressive 14th place. With well over 100 men in Rome to contest the World Championships, the Irish are faced with a tough test to make it to the final.
In the qualification competitions, athletes compete in fencing, swimming and the combined run/shoot event to determine the top 36 athletes who will progress to the finals.
2012 World Championships, Rome ITA
Monday 7th May – Women’s Relay
Tuesday 8th May – Men’s Relay
Wednesday 9th May – Mixed Relay
Thursday 10th May – Women’s Qualification
Friday 11th May – Men’s Qualification
Saturday 12th May – Women’s Final
Sunday 13th May – Men’s Final
A reminder that the 2012 World Championships will be streamed live at:
Sionann O’Reilly-Collins, who celebrated her 17th birthday only on April 19th is a well known all round sportswoman who has excelled for college and club at cross-country, track and field, swimming, and fencing and finished in an excellent 7th position at the 2011 ‘Olympic Hopes B’ event in Poland. She lists her current favourite sports stars as Jessica Kuerten, Jessica Ennis, Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt. SportsNewsIreland wishes her – and all of the Irish quartet – a very successful world championships in Rome this week.