Pentathlon Ireland ran their first of two Spring Series competition yesterday with athletes competing in four events; fencing, swimming and the combined run/shoot event. Twenty three athletes aged between 22 and 12 took part in the competition which will ultimately form a ranking list for 2013 from which athletes will be selected to represent Ireland at international competitions.
The competition started with fencing where each athlete competed for two bouts against every other competitor giving a total of 44 bouts. The best fencer on the day was Naomi Mullins (Junior women) who recorded 34 victories, giving her 1060 pentathlon points. Conor Hillick (Senior men), Tom O’Brien (Junior Men) and Kate Coleman – Lenehan (Senior Men) were just behind all scoring 33 victories and 1040 points. Of the younger athletes, Luke Sutherland (Youth A) had a very impressive competition with 31 victories to award him 1000 pentathlon points.
Athletes headed to the ALSAA swimming pool to complete their 200m swims. The fastest on the day was Conor Hillick recording a time of 2:14.94 which gave him 1180 pentathlon points. Naomi Mullins backed up her strong fencing with a fast swim of 2:17.65. Sophie Lowe (Youth B) produced a fabulous time of 2:19, 90 for 1120 pentathlon points.
Morton Stadium was the venue for the combined run/shoot event. For this, athletes were split into their different age categories for different heats and handicap starts were put in place. The leading athletes of each age group (after the fence and swim scores were totaled) started off on the run/shoot event on zero seconds. The remaining athletes in that heat, followed at timed intervals according to their points deficit from the lead athlete. This ultimately means that which athlete crosses the line first is the overall winner of the whole competition.
The youngest athletes (Youth C & B age groups) completed 3 x shoot/800m with pellet pistols. The athletes have to hit five targets placed 10meters before they can begin each 800m run lap. The conditions at Morton Stadium were horrific for running with horizontal rain and very strong winds. Thankfully the shooting range was set up indoors so that athletes were given a short rest bite from the punishing conditions for each shoot series. Unfortunately the run marshals didn’t have this luxury.
In the Youth C (12/13yrs) Girls race, Eimear O’Neil overcame a small heads start that Ellie Scott had before the run/shoot to cross the line first. Louis Madden was the sole competitor in the Youth C boys age group. Credit to Louis who only picked up an epee for the first time the previous day in a Pentathlon Ireland Taster Training day!
The Youth B (14/15yrs) categories were very competitive with six girls and three boys contesting the event. The boys race saw Paddy Erskine overhaul a 43 second deficit and beat Mark Collins by just two seconds with Sean Hassett finshed third in this classification. The Girls race also saw fellow NI athlete, Zara Mulholland over come a 22 second deficit to win the race beating Sophie Lowe and Aoife Duggan McSweeney into second and third place respectively.
The Youth A (16/17yrs) competition comprised of 4 x shoot/800m and the Boys competition was dominated by Luke Sutherland. The six foot two athlete showing a huge amount of promise for the sport finished ahead of Sean Ryan in second place. Sarah Demody came away as winner of the Girls event with Hannah Quinn in second and Kate Madden in third. Kate, brother of Louis, had also only tried fencing for the first time on Saturday.
The Junior (18-21yrs) and Senior (22yrs+) were run with laser pistols with the 4 x shoot/800m format and was run with male and female athletes together. Naomi Mullins was the run away leader as she made up a four second deficit on the leader Conor Hillick. Tom O’Brien pushed her to catch her up but finished four seconds behind her at the end of the run/shoot event. Sive Brassil and Kate Coleman-Lenehan were the second and third females to cross the line with Conor Hillick and Patrick Duggan completing the top places for the men’s event. This event was geared as a warm up event for several of these Junior and Senior athletes who will travel to Hungary this weekend to contest the Hungarian Indoor event. Naomi, Sive and Kate will join Ireland’s Olympian Natalya Coyle to complete the women’s team with Tom and Conor set to compete with Eanna Bailey and Olympian Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe in the Men’s event.
All the competing athletes deemed the event a great success with new comer Kate Madden describing it as “savage craic”. A huge thanks to all the parents who got involved with the running of the event and to all the venues for their support.
The second Spring Series competition will be held in February with more details following soon.
Some excellent photos here on the FACEBOOK PHOTO ALBUM