Tag Archives: Pentathlon

Track Beauty of the Week: Laura Ikauniece

Laura Ikauniece is this week’s track beauty!

The Latvian is a rising star in the multi-events. She struck athletics success early, winning the silver medal at the 2009 World Youth Championships in Brixen. Ikauniece scored a then personal best of 5,647 points (girls’ implements) – less than a 100 points from the Youth champion, Katarina Thompson of Britain. Laura failed to barge into the top three at the 2010 World Junior Championships in Moncton, finishing in sixth place.

Photo from Romualds Vambuts/Sportacentrs.com

The statuesque Latvian bounced back in 2011, as she snared a European Juniors bronze medal. En route to her return to the podium, Laura scored a then personal best of 6,063 points. Ikauniece’s best events are the high jump and the javelin throw. The fact that she had jumped 1.82m twice as a 17-year old, speaks volumes of her talent. Her lanky figure is remiscent of the Tia Hellebaut – a heptathlete-turned-Olympic champion high jumper. Laura had recently set a new personal best of 53.73m in the javelin throw.

The 2012 athletics season, Ikauniece’s first full year as senior athlete, has exciting prospects. with the European Championships and the Olympic Games in the calendar. Laura is still barely out of her teens. She has fine athletics pedigree, being the daughter of Vineta Ikauniece, a retired sprinter who still holds several Latvian records. More importantly, Laura exudes both seriousness and enjoyment when she competes – a potent combination for champion athletes.

At the International Combined Events Meeting held in Talinn, Estonia last April, Ikauniece’s vast untapped potential took centerstage. Laura set personal bests in four out of five events, as she improved her pentathlon personal best to 4,346 points to grab top honours. At the Hypo-Meeting in Götzis last 27 May 2012, Ikauniece achieved lifetime bests in four disciplines (200mD – 24.43s, 800mR – 2:13.68,  100mH – 13.90s and Shot Put – 12.67m), and tied her three-year old high jump mark. The rapidly improving Latvian was rewarded with an impressive 6,282 point-total – a new personal best and an outright ticket to the London Olympics.

Laura immediately made an impact in her first major international as a senior athlete. The up and coming Latvian athlete again set a flurry of new personal bests in the hurdles (13.53s), high jump (1.83m), 200m (24.36s), long jump (6.31m), and the 800m (2:12.82). She amassed a total points tally of 6,335 and, you got that right, a new lifetime best!

In the coming months and years, watch out for this talented Latvian heptathlete.

Article by Joboy Quintos

Additional links:

Laura’s IAAF biography

Laura’s LVS biography (in Latvian)

Istanbul 2012: Top Seven Performances

Amongst the major international athletics championships, the World Indoors is the most underrated. Big name stars like Usain Bolt usually opt out of the biennial meet, especially in crucial Olympic years. Indoor athletics has a far smaller reach than its outdoor counterpart, with the smaller venues usually found in the frigid countries of the northern hemisphere.

Photo from Wikipedia

Nevertheless, it has that obscure charm. When I first saw the start lists of some events, I thought that the rest of the non-European, non-American world was underrepresented. I thought wrong. As soon as the 60m dash heats came out, a cacophony of athletes from small countries – from Mongolia in the Gobi desert to Fiji in the Pacific – competed amongst their more illustrious counterparts.

Even if I had to rely on live streaming links and my less-than-perfect internet connection to watch the World Indoors, I must say that I had a grand time. Despite the absence of most of the track & field titans, the festivities were certainly not devoid of memorable athletics moments. The three-day event has seen former World Indoor champions like Elena Isinbayeva Елена Гаджиевна Исинбаева, Justin Gatlin, and Valerie Adams re-emerge on the big stage, whilst playing host to bevy of promising talent.

One Gold, Three Silvers (Photo from Zimbio/Getty Images)

The women high jumpers deserve special mention too, as the troika of Antonietta Di Martino, Anna Chicherova Анна Владимировна Чичерова, and Ebba Jungmark shared a the second spot on the podium, behind the champion, the come-backing Chaunté Lowe (1.98m). The three athletes had equally identical sheets, with each clearing 1.95m.

The United States topped the overall standings with a staggering 18 medals, 10 of which were gold. Great Britain had 9, while African distance powerhouses Ethiopia and Kenya won 5 and 4, respectively.

The following list enumerates my favorite performances from Istanbul (aside from the 60m hurdles, of course!):

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Track Beauty of the Week: Remona Fransen

Remona Fransen is this week’s Track Beauty!

The Dutch multi-event athlete had just won her first-ever major championship medal, a bronze at the 2011 European Championships in Paris. The tall Fransen tallied a total of 4,665 points in the Pentathlon en route to her 2nd-runner up finish.

Photo from bndestem.nl

The 25-year old notched an impressive array of personal bests in the two-day competition. Fransen remarkably broke her best marks in all five disciplines. She even set a Dutch national record in the high jump, with her 1.92m leap (an unsurprising feat considering the fact that she’s built like the stereotypical high jumper!).

Prior to her breakout 2011 season, Fransen’s best performance was a heptathlon gold at the European Cup Combined Events 1st League, second tier continental competition, where she set a personal best of 5,993 points in the heptathlon.

Photos from Jeroen Bosman

With her surprise European Indoor bronze, Fransen’s confidence must be at an all-time high. Expect the talented Dutchwoman to contend for future continental titles – and to at least finish within the top echelons come the 2012 London Olympics.

Article by Joboy Quintos

Video Credits:

EAA

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