Lithuania's Asadauskaite wins 2012 European modern pentathlon crown
Friday, 06 July 2012
July 6 - Lithuania's Laura Asadauskaite (pictured left) produced the ideal warm-up for the London Olympics as she won the European Modern Pentathlon title in Sofia, Bulgaria – but the world number one denied she was a favourite to take gold at the Games.
"No, I don't think so," she said after finishing ahead of the surprise silver and bronze medallists, Iryna Khokhlova and Ganna Buriak of the Ukraine.
"I would need to perform at double this level to win the Olympic Games.
"There were a lot of strong athletes missing here, that will make it very tough.
"I am not going to London expecting to win."
Meanwhile in the team competition, gold went to Russia, for whom Donata Rimsaite finished fourth, two places ahead of Britain's Beijing silver medallist Heather Fell (pictured below, left), whose performance helped Britain earn team silver ahead of Hungary.
The small but immensely powerful Lithuanian, who won the World Cup final earlier this year, earned her title in steamily hot conditions after making up ground in the final run/shoot.
"When I knew I was starting the combined event in 6th place, only 22 seconds behind the leader [Hungary's Sarolta Kovacs who ended up finishing back in seventh] I was confident I would win, as I have won events being a minute behind before," she said.
Khokhlova, who won the 2011 World Military Games, added: "I am very happy, this was very unexpected for me.
"Today I improved my fencing results which was really important for me.
"My combined was okay, apart from my last shooting which disappointed me a lot.
"However, even if I shot well there was no way I could have outran Laura [Asadauskaite] for the gold.
"I hope I can now repeat this job at the Olympic Games.
"I have been training very hard for this."
If observers were surprised by Khokhlova's silver, they were astounded by world number 64 Buriak taking bronze.
"There was a lot of pressure on me going into the final shoot," admitted Buriak.
"However I was able just to focus on my shooting and thankfully that was enough for me to get the medal."
Rimsaite started the day in brilliant fashion by winning the fencing and managed to hold onto fourth place, just ahead of Leila Gyenesei of Hungary and Fell, who both finished their season in style after missing out on Olympic selection.
Freyja Prentice (pictured above, right), another who narrowly missed out on London 2012, finished eighth for Britain, with third team member Katy Burke 14th and junior athlete Kate French 27th.
May 2012: Bittersweet silver for Fell as Adauskaite takes modern pentathlon World Cup