By David Brenchley
Crystal Palace is getting ready to host the most open Modern Pentathlon World Championships ever this week.
With around 100 male and 65 female athletes expected to descend on SE19, the new format is bound to throw up some surprise results.
The new combined run/shoot event is sure to provide a thrilling climax to proceedings but some athletes seem to have adapted to it better than others.
Great Britain’s Katy Livingston, who is currently ranked number three in the world, said: “I have been at bit up and down to be honest; I have not picked it up as quickly as other people have.
“I have not got that consistency at the minute, I am going into this one hoping to make the final and then see what happens. My first goal is always to make the final, even before the format changed,” she added.
Britain’s team manager, Dominic Mahony, agrees that his team have found the going tough: “Heather [Fell], by her own admission, will say that to have won individual silver at the Europeans was unexpected that fast so it is in the mix.
“This year is a transitional year for everybody so results, bar three women: Amilie Caze of France, Aya Medani and Laura Asadauskaite, everyone else will be a bit variable.”
Despite being world number one, Olympic silver medallist Fell is not taking anything for granted at Crystal Palace.
She said: “it will be great if we can come back with a medal in either the team or individual but anything can happen, especially with this new format so my expectations are just to see an improvement in my performance.
“Everything has gone to plan, I had a longer break in the winter, that was planned so I am not in the best condition of my life but I have peaked for this year.”
Egyptian Aya Medany is also looking forward to the World Championships. She is one of the three athletes picked out by Livingston and Mahony to challenge the home athletes.
The 21-year-old, who is the current World Junior champion said: “I have been preparing for the new combined event a lot.
“I hope that it will all help my preparations for London 2012 and I hope that it will be better than 2008 where I came eighth,” she added.
“Last year I won the silver medal [at the World Championships] so I hope I will do the same or better [this year].”
The women start their campaign with the semi-finals on Friday August 14, with the final on Sunday August 16.
– but the sailors praise the new boats