Thursday, 29 October 2009

Juniors' Roll of Honour/Hall of Fame and the transition to the senior level.

The transition from junior to senior level is an issue in every sport. In tennis we can see it can be a difficult transition - even though the top pro players usually had a great junior record, but then many top juniors can't make it at pro level. Same goes to football, if you consider the national teams U-17, U-20 and, years later, in the main team you will see few players still there. Of course several aspects are involved. The peak age of a sport (if there's such one), the size of the circuit (modern pentathlon circuit is much smaller than tennis and football) and, for each individual, personal affairs (sponsors or lack of it, athletes quitting because of other professional activities, especially after uni, injuries, etc).

I've compiled the podium of Junior World Championships from the last 10 years - from 1999 to 2004 I could only find for boys in odd years and for girls in even years at UIPM website, they have the semifinal results for most of them though, only missing the final. Sure the junior world year-end ranking could give a more accurate idea of each season by having more competitions, but it was easier to compile the WJC standings.

Junior World Championships Top 3 by year

1999 - Chieti, Italy
1 - Jae-Kun Choi (KOR)
2 - Martin Dvořák (CZE)
3 - Aleksei Turkin (RUS)

2000 - Sofia, Bulgaria
1 - Tatiana Mouratova (RUS)
2 - Olessia Velitchko (RUS)
3 - Dominika Grodzicka (POL)

2001 - Budapest, Hungary
1 - Michal Michalík (CZE)
2 - Steffen Gebhardt (GER)
3 - Alexei Savikov (RUS)

2002 - Sydney, Australia
1 - Olessia Velitchko (RUS)
2 - Omnia Fakhry (EGY)
3 - Evdokia Gretchichnikova (RUS)

2003 - Athina, Greece
1 - Mihail Prokopenko (BLR)
2 - Ilia Frolov (RUS)
3 - Cedric Pla (FRA)

2004 - Székesfehérvár, Hungary
1 - Sergei Shovin (RUS)
2 - Ádám Marosi (HUN)
3 - Dmytro Kirpulyanskyy (UKR)

2005 - Moskva, Russia
1 - Ádám Marosi (HUN)
2 - Jean-Maxence Berrou (FRA)
3 - Da Wen (CHN)
1 - Lena Schöneborn (GER)
2 - Aya Medany (EGY)
3 - Mhairi Spence (GBR)

2006 - Shanghai, China
1 - David Svoboda (CZE)
2 - Peter Tibolya (HUN)
3 - Mena Tadros (EGY)
1 - Aya Medany (EGY)
2 - Mhairi Spence (GBR)
3 - Amélie Cazé (FRA)

2007 - Caldas da Rainha, Portugal
1 - Ondřej Polívka (CZE)
2 - Maxim Aldochkine (RUS)
3 - Serguei Karyakin (RUS)
1 - Adrien Tóth (HUN)
2 - Tatsiana Klimovich (BLR)
3 - Lena Schöneborn (GER)

2008 - Cairo, Egypt
1 - Serguei Karyakin (RUS)
2 - Pierpaolo Petroni (ITA)
3 - Dmitrios Motsios (GRE)

1 - Aya Medany (EGY)
2 - Krisztina Cseh (HUN)
3 - Sarolta Kovács (HUN)

2009 - Kaoshiung, Chinese Taipei
1 - Jihun Ahn (KOR)
2 - Jinhwa Jung (KOR)
3 - Serguei Karyakin (RUS)
1 - Aya Medany (EGY)
2 - Svetlana Lebedeva (RUS)
3 - Margaux Isaksen (USA)

David Svoboda (CZE), Ádám Marosi (HUN) and Dmytro Kirpulyanskyy (UKR), the young podium at 2009 World Senior Championships (London, UK)

Ondřej Polívka, Michal Michalík, David Svoboda [CZE]; Ádám Marosi, Péter Tibolya, Róbert Németh [HUN]; Justinas Kinderis, Edvinas Krungolcas and Andrejus Zadneprovskis [LTU] - podium of London Senior World Championships 2009 - men's team

Aya Medany (EGY), Amélie Cazé (FRA) and Katy Livingston (GBR) - podium at World Senior Championship 2008 (Budapest, Hungary)

We can see that most of the top juniors became top senior athletes, with few exceptions. If it's not that surprising since it have few competitors, in the other hand it shows many of them are already successful in first years as seniors - some even have good results while already as junior (under 22 years old) - and we can't say that a veteran or a mature athlete has an advantage, since some skills are supposed to improve with the years, like fencing, shooting and equestrian, while others can be expected to have a decrease in performance (I would say especially swimming, since we can see in running, for this distance of 3km, many veterans mastering).

We can see also athletes with several podiums (Medani's record is really impressive and Karyakin is one to watch), that's interesting since it's a sport hard to have regularity and consistency - in the other hand, the best pentathletes usually have more consistency than the others. An interesting question is if can the younger athletes take advantage of the changes in the sport's format - can they adapt better and faster or do the veterans also have such an experience that help them too?

It's known that many of the athletes were originally from one of the five disciplines and later moved to modern pentathlon, swimming being the main source of athletes as far as I know.

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