Sunday, 21 February 2010

Budapest Indoor International Championships 2010

This weekend was held an international indoor competition in Budapest, Hungary, featuring some of the best pentathletes in activity, a good warm-up before the beginning of the 2010 World Cup series. The riding event followed the combined event in men's and women's competitions, unlike in the usual format.

The women competition was on Saturday and Samantha Murray confirmed the British tradition of great pentatheletes winning the vent with 5208 points, with a very regular performance (5th in fencing, 4th in swimming, 3rd in combined event and losing only 40 points in riding). Second and third in the competition were local pentathletes Sarolta Kovács and Leila Gyenesei, repectively scoring 5180 and 5052 points. Kovács could rely in an impresive and regular performance in all events, while Gyenesei mastered in fencing with the best score in this event (1024 points, 26-9). Helyer (GBR) came fourth and Tóth (HUN) came fifth. Donata Rimsaite from Lithuania withdrew from the competition after the first event. French pentathletes Clouvel and Arnaud were the highlights in swimming and combined event with the top score of those events.

The men competition had its semifinals on Friday and the final on Sunday. Hungarian Róbert Kazsa was the first, with 5784 points, followed by two pentathletes from Lithuania, Kinderis and Makarovas (5764 and 5660 respectively). World ranking leader Ádám Marosi came fourth and his countryman Demeter was fifth. Kasza was helped by a strong start in fencing, leading the board with 1096 points. The top swimmers failed in other disciplines and some well known names ended in intermediate positions (possibly a mix of effects of the off-season and the presence of the up and coming new generation).

Full results can be found at:

Friday, 19 February 2010

Latest results: February 2010

The World Cup Series is approaching and some events are taking place.

The Open Italian Senior Championship was held in Roma and Montelibretti (February 6-7) with 55 men and 33 women, featuring also 11 Hungarian pentathletes.

1. Claudia Cesarini 4932
2. Clara Maria Cesarini 4908
3. Alessia Pieretti 4744

1. Nicola Benedetti 5732
2. Davide Lupi 5560
3. Pier Paolo Petroni 5556

A French qualifying competition was held in Noyon in February 06. There were 14 women and 22 men contesting.


1. Florian Bou 5496
2. John Zakrzewski 5404
3. Geoffrey Megi 5392


1. Paola Bartoli 4904
2. Elfie Arnaud 4728
3. Marion Laval 4272

And today was the first day of the International Indoors Championships in Budapest, Hungary (men and women's qualifying). Local pentathletes Tibolya and Márosi topped Group A, both with 4160 points, followed by French Bruno Merle (4120), while Group B also had two local pentathletes at the top (Kasza - 4312 - and Málits - 4280) followed by a foreign athelete (Lithuanian Kinderis with 4204).

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Alternative Pentathlon?

Since modern pentathlon was a sport wrought by Pierre de Coubertin, adapted from track and field events, we could play with the format and picture some alternative pentathlons. Modern pentathlon itself has its variations like winter pentathlon and military pentathlon (also some small changes in masters pentathlon) and there are other multiple sports like triathlon, biathlon, winter biathlon, etc.

One possibility would be having wrestling (or judo, karate or any other combat sport) replacing fencing; canoe/kayak or sailing replacing swimming; car rally or horse race replacing equestrian; archery replacing shooting; and cycling or a mini-triathlon replacing running.

And what about an extreme pentathlon, like the Iron Man in triathlon? It could consist of events like climbing, aquatic marathon, kayak/canoe marathon, cycling and marathon or trekking/orienteering, spread over several days. There are actually already similar competitions, called adventure race. I've read somewhere that when modern pentathlon was proposed they thought about alternative configurations, and one of them had kayak.

If we have a team competition, it could be adapted five disciplines of ball sports like football, water polo, volleyball, basketball, tennis, handball, etc...

To finish, a "junkie-friendly" version of the sport, a saloon pentathlon, with darts, snooker, poker, draughts, gammon or any other game.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Modern Pentathlon and the Cold War

Twenty years ago some big changes in the world were happening, especially in Europe. The world was basically splitted into two blocs that can be understood under the military alliances, the Warsaw Pact and NATO, which opposed communism and capitalism. In the end of 1989 the two main symbols of this division went down, the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall. The Cold War was coming to an end.

I've read recently a book about the happenings in Eastern Europe in 1989, written by a journalist of Newsweek Magazine who was a witness of what happened in Eastern Europe in the mentioned year. The book, written by Michael Meyer, is named "The year that changed the world" - a year that was a turning point just like 1968, considering the recent post-World Wars history. The book brings a close(r) view to what happened in Hungary, East Germany, Poland and, in smaller extension, in Czechoslovakia and Romania, focused on the last days of the regimes.

And what does modern pentathlon has to do with the Cold War? First of all, like every sport in that period, the rivalry between the blocs was transpassed to the sport, which was used also for propaganda, especially at Olympics. Both sides put a lot of effort in sports for top places in the Olympics medal table, and pentathlon itself has a strong link to militarism, which turns it into a special case in the "sports cold war".

And what were the consequences of the end of the Cold War to modern pentathlon? I think one of them was a bigger exchange between countries. If we take a look at "results by bloc" and comparing historical results of Olympics and World Championships with the most recent results (something can be found in this blog) we can see Eastern European countries still have a big role in the sport, despite some good and competitive teams from countries that were allies to USA in the 80's. Another outcome from the end of the Cold War was the end of USSR, which affected the start lists of Olympics, that have national quotas - in last Olympics men competition, for example, the podium was filled only by athletes from the former USSR (1 from Russia and 2 from Lithuania). Even though it was expected from the countries that once belonged to the Warsaw Pact to decrease investments in militarism, it semms the sport wasn't seriously affected since they managed to keep the excellence after so many years.

Since I recomended one book, I'll introduce two movies as well. The first one has a clear match with this article, "Pentathlon", directed by Bruce Malmuth and starring Dolph Lundgren. I've actually didn't watch this movie, I couldn't find it in DVD but surely it might be available in the internet somewhere for download. I wouldn't expect anything more than I would expect from an action movie (I mean artistic quality), but it seems a good entertainment and it's interesting for showing the sport within the context of the Cold War (and all manicheism it could carry, but again we can't be much demanding). An interesting movie released quite recently was "Children of Glory", from Hungary. It's not about the opposition West-East, but an opposition Soviet Union-Hungary in 1956, and the water polo men teams match in Olympics in the same year. Click the name of the movie to watch the trailer: "Pentathlon" and "Children of Glory".