Student athletes from 18 nations make history at FISU World University Championship
There were historic gold medals to savour for France, Italy, Poland and Egypt at the first-ever FISU World University Modern Pentathlon Championship in Budapest, Hungary, where Egypt won a medal in all four events.
The inaugural championship was a huge success, attracting high-quality pentathletes from 18 nations across five continents to a new facility at the Ludovika campus of the National University of Public Service in Hungary’s capital city.
In the Men’s Individual event on July 4, Brice Loubet of France emerged triumphant from a thrilling battle with silver medallist Ahmed Elgendy of Egypt and Lukas Svechota of the Czech Republic.
The Women’s Individual competition was held on July 5 and Elena Micheli of Italy became world champion after a dominant performance. Anna Maliszewska of Poland claimed silver and Sondos Aboubakr of Egypt joined them on the podium with bronze.
On July 7, Marta Gobecka and Lukasz Gutkowski of Poland won the Mixed Relay after a tough duel with silver medallists Kseniia Fraltsova and Nikolai Matveev of Russia. There was a second bronze medal for Aboubakr as she teamed up with Sherif Nazeir to give Egypt their third medal of the championship.
On the final day, July 8, a newly-created Team Pentathlon took place with four athletes (male and female) from each nation taking part in one discipline each.
Egypt (Sherif Rashad, Sherif Nazeir, Haydy Morsy & Ahmed Elgendy) were the winners, with Italy (Riccardo Agazotti, Alessandro Colasanti, Emma Rinaudo & Roberto Micheli) picking up silver and Poland (Maciej Dukieslki, Daniel Lawrynowicz, Marta Kobecka & Lukasz Gutkowski) claiming bronze.
The Tetrathlon format (Swimming, Fencing and Laser-Run) was adopted in the individual events, while Riding was added to the programme for the Mixed Relay and Team Pentathlon.
Men’s champion Loubet (FRA) said: “It was special because on a normal day in the Modern Pentathlon we do five disciplines but this time it was kind of special all day to think about just four activities.
“I felt good about myself in Swimming in the morning. During the Fencing I had good and bad moments, and then in the Laser-Run I felt very good. I started with a large handicap, 43 seconds against the leader. But before the race in my mind I said ‘everything is okay, I can do it’. And finally I was able to do it.”
Women’s champion Micheli (ITA) added: “It was an amazing race. I had a very good Laser-Run, a not so good Fencing but in the end that wasn’t a problem.
“My running and my shooting was very good. I thought all the time I should be serious and focus on what I needed to do.”
After history was made in Budapest, a glowing testimonial to the championships was paid by Eilidh Prise of Ireland, who finished 6th in the Women’s Individual and 4th alongside Michael Healy in the Mixed Relay.
Prise (IRL) said: “It was a fantastic experience to compete against our fellow students. In the senior ranks you’re always comparing yourself to full-time athletes but here you’re on a par with other student athletes and our studies are incredibly important to us, so that was really nice.
“It was a fantastic venue with a brand new facility and just a really great competition, and I hope in future the competition can attract even more athletes. It’s really good promotion for our sport.”
UIPM President Dr Klaus Schormann said: “The partnership between UIPM and FISU, established in 2014, is very important for our sport because it engages student pentathletes from across the world and brings them together.
“As we saw in Budapest, the 1st FISU World University Modern Pentathlon Championships was a great success with many excellent young pentathletes from five continents competing at a high level.
“My thanks go to FISU, to the Hungarian University Sports Federation and the Hungarian Modern Pentathlon Association for organising this very special competition, and to our hosts at the National University of Public Service and all the local volunteers.”
The 2nd FISU World University Modern Pentathlon Championship will take place in Vila Real (POR) in 2020.