By Dan Plouffe
Ottawa resident Melanie McCann enjoyed a breakthrough moment in her modern pentathlon career yesterday by earning a place in her first world championships final in Moscow, Russia.
McCann, who moved to Ottawa last fall to train full-time with national team coach John Hawes of Stittsville, tied for fourth place out of 37 competitors in the ‘A’ semi-final to move ahead to the final round Saturday.
“It feels pretty good. I’m relieved that it’s over now and I can rest up until Saturday,” McCann said in an interview on the modern pentathlon international federation’s web site. “My goals for Saturday are mostly to get ready for (the Pan Am Games), to have a good day and stay in a good state of mind to perform the way I’ve been training.”
McCann identified great fencing and solid shooting – the two events she’s found have improved the most since her move to Ottawa from Calgary – as the big keys to reaching the final round in her second senior worlds.
“I mostly moved because I wasn’t having a lot of help in the shooting, I wanted to improve swimming and I wanted new fencing partners, and Ottawa seemed to offer at that for me,” the 21- year-old from Parkhill, Ont. explained to SportsOttawa.com before leaving for Russia. “It’s been good so far. Hectic, but I really enjoy the training and all my new training partners, so I’m quite happy here.”
Rockland native Mathea Stevens placed 30th in the other semi-final group. The 19- year-old will compete in November’s world junior championships in Argentina.
The Pan Am Games take place Oct. 13-30, 2011, in Guadalajara, Mexico and serve as the regional qualifier for the London 2012 Olympics.