Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Heat Wave Muddles Pentathlon

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Heat Wave Muddles Pentathlon

Article excerpt

WORLD CUP: Canceled events put sharp focus on Sarasota's opportunities

Southwest Florida's debut as a host site for the Olympic sport of Modern Pentathlon will be of greater importance after several events at a world cup event in Acapulco, Mexico, were canceled during the weekend.

Katherine Harris, the chairwoman of the organizing committee for the local pentathlon effort, was in Mexico for the first of a series of world cup events, which will end with the final cup in Sarasota- Bradenton in June.

An unexpected heat wave in Acapulco canceled the latter half of the games. Temperatures reached the high 90s -- not too far of a stretch from Southwest Florida's climate during the summer months. Athletes were not able to compete in the men's final event or the mixed relay.

"We are a sport that strongly promotes animal welfare, and the conditions were less than ideal for the horses," said Klaus Schormann, president of the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Modern, or UPI.

Modern Pentathlon is an Olympic sport where athletes compete in five phases: fencing, 200-meter freestyle swimming, equestrian show jumping, and a final event that combines shooting with a 3,200- meter cross-country run.

The points of the next three world cup series events -- in Egypt, China and Hungary -- will count toward the qualification of the world cup final in Southwest Florida.

The top 36 men and 36 women in the sport will compete in the final during June.

Despite the complications, Harris attended several meetings in Acapulco, where she debuted the world cup final's logo to international officials and further cemented logistical plans for the Southwest Florida event.

Students from Ringling College of Art and Design created the event's logo.

"There's no doubt that our world cup final will be under the spotlight now that some of the events were canceled here," said Harris, whose ties to the Olympic committee date back to her days as Florida's secretary of state. "It's very important that we smooth out all the details now so we can have a great experience for the pentathlon athletes."

Harris hoped to find additional sponsors and donations in Mexico for the world cup final. …

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