MODERN PENTATHLON Preview: World Champs Cooke and Protopenko back in action in Bulgaria

Great Britain's 2018 World Champion James Cooke (Photo: UIPM/Virag Buza)

The second leg of the 2019 UPIM World Cup is in Sofia (BUL), with strong fields for both men and women. The top entries:

● James Cooke (GBR) ~ 2018 World Champion; 2016 World Cup Final winner
● Valentin Prades (FRA) ~ 2016 World Champion; 2018 Worlds silver
● Ahmed Elgendy (EGY) ~ 2018 World Junior Champion
● Arthur Lanigan-O’Keefe (IRL) ~ 2018 World Cup Final bronze
● Ilya Palazkov (BLR) ~ 2018 World Cup Final fourth
● Woongtae Jun (KOR) ~ 2018 World Cup Final silver
● Jin-Hwa Jun (KOR) ~ 2017 World Champion; 2016 Worlds bronze

● Anastasiya Protopenko (BLR) ~ 2018 World Champion; 2017 Worlds bronze
● Laura Asadauskaite (LTU) ~ 2012 Olympic Champion; 2013 World Champion
● Uliana Batashova (RUS) ~ 2019 Cairo World Cup winner
● Natalya Coyle (IRL) ~ 2019 Cairo World Cup runner-up
● Marie Oteiza (FRA) ~ 2018 European Champion
● Kate French (GBR) ~ 2018 European Championships silver
● Gulnaz Gubaydullina (RUS) ~ 2017 World Champion

The World Cup is part of a long road to the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. Cooke was something of a surprise winner at last year’s Worlds, so his form will be carefully watched.

Protopenko could be in a final-event sprint with 2012 Olympic champ Asadauskaite (LTU), who is still in good form at 35. Both are renowned for their finishing speed on the Laser Run. Look for results here.