Britain’s world number one Joseph Choong moved smoothly through today’s qualification for Saturday’s (March 27) men’s final at the opening International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) World Cup of the season in Budapest.
In what is the first UIPM event to have been staged in 13 months, Choong finished third in the first qualifying group, with his team mate, the 2018 world champion and 2019 European champion Jamie Cooke, proceeding in 10th place.
Marvin Faly Dogue of Germany ended top of the men's qualification round on 1,174 points, two clear of Switzerland's Alexandre Dallenbach.
Hungary's Bence Kardos finished third on 1,165.
Thoughts and eyes will now turn to tomorrow’s women’s final, where Japan’s 13-year-old Natsu Ohta, who produced an astounding performance on her senior debut to finish joint-top in qualifying yesterday, will attempt to maintain her momentum.
Ohta performed highly respectably in the opening fencing and swimming, where she finished 18th and 11th respectively, but she then stepped to another level in the concluding laser run, winning in style after starting 14th at 37 seconds down.
The balance of competition will alter for her tomorrow as the riding element is included, and the many hugely experienced pentathletes around her, including France’s world number one and Rio 2016 silver medallist Elodie Clouvel and Italy’s 2019 world silver medallist Elena Micheli, prepare to engage top gear.
The diminutive Japanese athlete - who does not turn 14 until September 11 - has nothing to lose and much to gain, including, perhaps, the possibility of challenging to represent her country at the postponed Olympic Games scheduled for Tokyo this year.
The World Cup will conclude with the mixed relay competition on Sunday (March 28).