Budapest is poised to host the opening event of the International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) World Cup season.
The season is largely set to be centred on Hungary and Bulgaria as athletes build towards the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Hungary’s capital city Budapest will host the first competition over the coming week, with the event concluding on March 28.
Back-to-back contests are scheduled in Sofia, Bulgaria, in April, before the World Cup returns to Budapest for the final event.
The World Cup Final had initially been scheduled to take place in South Korea, but the event was moved to Hungary due to the challenges posed by COVID-19 quarantine restrictions in Seoul.
The opening event in Budapest will be the first UIPM World Cup competition held for 13 months.
,Men's and women's world number ones Joseph Choong of Britain and France's Elodie Clouvel will be among the starters in Budapest.
The event forms part of the qualification process for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“The first UIPM Pentathlon World Cup of the season is always an exciting moment for our athletes," said Klaus Schormann, UIPM President.
"But this is no ordinary season, and you will see that in the intensity of competition as the athletes push for the best possible finishing position to improve their chances of qualifying for the Olympic Games.
“The last year 2020 was very difficult for everybody because of the COVID-19 pandemic, not only in our sporting movement but across all parts of business, society and everyday life.
"The challenge continues in 2021 but I am happy to see and learn that athletes continued to prepare for the Olympic year with support from their clubs and federations.
“The health and safety of all participants is our priority.
"In the Hungarian Modern Pentathlon society we have very experienced people organising our competitions, and we are very grateful that everything is so well prepared.
“Let’s enjoy together a great Olympic year while taking care of our health – we can overcome the pandemic through discipline, following all advice from the medical experts.”
The opening World Cup of the season will begin tomorrow with women’s qualification taking place in Budapest, with men’s qualifying following on Thursday (March 25).
Women’s and men’s finals will be held on March 26 and 27.
A mixed relay competition is set to complete the World Cup event on Sunday (March 28).