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Pentathlon Medal Contenders Have Dreams of First Gold … and Ukrainian Bonds

Three silver medals from three IAAF championships should make her too “hungry”.  For Canadian combined eventer Brianne Theisen-Eaton, who is living in Oregon for nine years now, Portland is, maybe, the one of the best places to get to the highest stage of the global medal podium.

“It’s amazing to be able to just drive up the road to take part in the World Championships. It’s surreal to have such a big event in our backyard, because we normally don’t get that, we have to travel to Europe or elsewhere for our main competitions. I’m from Canada, so I have a lot of friends and family coming to watch us. We are looking forward to showing to our friends and competitors that we’ve met over the years in the sport where we come from and where we train on a daily basis,” said Brianne.

Six months ago Theisen-Eaton also came to Beijing World Championships being not only the World leader but also the biggest favourite to win. But Brianne was sensationally beaten by Heptathlon Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill.

“I’ve learned a lot from my performance at the World Championships last year. And we’ve been working quite a bit on just being more mentally prepared to those kinds of things, as I’ve never really come into competitions as a favourite before. And I do feel very confident in that aspect of my training. This weekend, I do feel fit and ready, and I’m excited to put that side of the competition and what we’ve been practicing to the test,” Brianne noted.

It’s interesting that two of her strongest competitors in Portland – Ukrainians Anastasiya Moknyuk and Alina Fyodorova – have shown not to succumb to such mental blocks when competing at major events. Instead, World Leader Mokhnyuk has only ducked out of competitions only in the case of any serious injury and, unlike Theisen-Eaton, she really likes the five-event pentathlon. 

“I don’t enjoy pentathlon as much as heptathlon, because it’s missing the two events I really enjoy doing. I think, indoors is a good opportunity to see where you’re at and to compete in an intimate setting. And it can be fun, it comes at a time when the training gets stale, so it’s a good opportunity to get you excited and take advantage of an uncomfortable type of situation, a high-pressure situation,” Brianne explained.

European U23 silver medallist in 2013, Moknyuk, confessed she didn’t feel any pressure even if she came to Portland in new for her World Leader’s role. “Yes, on the one hand, that is new feelings for me but, on other hand, there is no matter at which position you come to the Champs. It’s much more important at which position you will finished. I strongly aim to achieve medal stand in Portland. I’m in the good shape which allows me to improve my PB in pentathlon and I’m waiting for very close and interesting fight in our event.” 

“I’m not the kind of combined eventers, who has to control every rival in every discipline. I’m focused on my job and technical things I have to do. I would like to push myself to the limit in every event. “Enough” isn’t my word. I never felt too tired physically after one-day competitions. But after the finish of pentathlon I’m really empty mentally,” Mokhnyuk said.

There is no doubt that her compatriot Alina Fyodorova wants to change her bronze medal from Sopot 2014 for a more worth-while one. Scoring 4688 points this winter (third result in the World season list), Alina performed very carefully. She nursed a hamstring injury to be able to compete in Portland at full power.

The most unexpected thing that binds these three Portland medal’s contenders in the women’s pentathlon is Ukraine.

“That is true! My mother’s grandma and grandpa are from Ukraine,” smiles Brianne Theisen-Eaton. “By the way, my families are going to be here to watch my performance.” 

 

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