Beijing 2008 Olympic gold medallist Lena Schöneborn of Germany laid down a marker ahead of Rio 2016 as she clinched victory in the women’s event at the International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) World Cup Final in Sarasota in the United States today.
Schöneborn, the reigning world champion following her triumph on home soil in Berlin last year, topped the podium with a score of 1375 points to pip Hungarian Zsófia Földházi, who was nine adrift in silver medal position.
Ieva Serapinaite of Lithuania maintained her solid displays across all five disciplines to secure the bronze medal on 1360, comfortably in front of compatriot Gintare Venckauskaite, who was fourth with 1347 points.
Schöneborn, who will bid to defend her world crown at the UIPM World Championships in Moscow later this month, took full advantage of the absence of world number one and London 2012 gold medallist Laura Asadauskaitė to ensure she heads into this year’s Olympics as the one to beat.
The German admitted, however, that her main goal is Rio 2016 and that she is not focusing on the World Championships in the Russian capital.
“I had a good fence yesterday, and then went for a coffee in the afternoon to see something different, which is what I will do in Rio,” she said.
"I had a very bad swim, which I hope is because I trained very hard for the last three weeks.
“Same for running, where the wind was hard.
“With shooting I had one bad series as well, but it was enough.
"The World Championships won't be a focus, because I think I can only have one focus in a year, so I will keep on training and focus on August.
“But sometimes it's not only about swimming and running, but your mental strength on the day."
The 30-year-old German began the competition with an encouraging performance in the fencing round, ending second behind Latvian Jeļena Rubļevska, which gave her 250 points and a decent start to her pursuit of gold in the season finale.
She then faltered in the swimming, however, as she could only manage the 27th best time of 2min 22.77sec but recovered after the riding in the combined shooting and running discipline, hunting down and surpassing Serapinaite to seal a deserved victory.
The competition in Sarasota continues with the men’s event tomorrow.