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UIPM 2017 U19 World Championships: Kim targets Tokyo 2020 medal after breakthrough gold

Tetrathlon

Korea’s reputation for producing young pentathletes of the highest pedigree was further enhanced when Kim Woocheol produced a commanding victory in the Men’s Individual event at the UIPM 2017 U19 World Championships.

Twelve months after Jeong Youngjin (KOR) produced a sensational sprint finish to win gold in the same event in Limerick (IRL), Kim (KOR) dominated the competition to claim the title with 19sec to spare over silver medallist Ahmed Elgendy of Egypt, with Oleksandr Shelest of Ukraine battling his way to bronze.

Kim (KOR) said after receiving his gold medal: “I am very happy. Last year I won a gold medal in the Men’s Relay and this year I will go home with two gold medals and a bronze. My target for the future is to win a medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.”

Kim’s performance was truly a Tetrathlon masterclass, confirming the promise he showed last year in finishing 6th and in contributing to Men’s Relay medals both in 2016 (gold) and earlier this week (bronze).

Eighteen-year-old Kim (KOR) broke the 2min mark in Swimming to record the 5th-fastest time (1:59.61), then shared top marks in Fencing with Pele Uibel (GER) as they each scored 25V/10D.

That gave Kim (KOR) an 11sec advantage in Laser-Run over Gytis Gudlevicius (LTU) and 14sec over Shelest (UKR), and the leader never let anybody get a glimpse of him. For a while Gudlevicius (LTU) and Elgendy (EGY) threatened to make inroads into his lead but it didn’t materialise and the battleground took place between silver and bronze.

Korea won team gold thanks in part to the 7th place of Kim Khyoungwan. Egypt secured silver as Mohanad Shaban supported Elgendy (EGY) in 4th place, and bronze went to Hungary.

UIPM President Dr Klaus Schormann said: “This was an excellent Men’s Individual Final and the way Korea dominated the team and individual events showed how developed our sport has become around the world.

“To have Egypt on the podium representing another continent – and they have won the most medals in this championships with still one more day to come – shows that our development work is really paying off and I wish all of them successful qualifying competitions for the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, where the best 24 male and female athletes will compete.”

Dr Schormann also saluted the local organisers in Prague (CZE) for staging an excellent competition and among the spectators was Michal Sedlecky (CZE), Men’s Individual world champion in 2002 in San Francisco (USA).

“The Under 19 World Championships is very important for younger guys because it’s long preparation for big days to come,” said Sedlecky. “For the Czech team it will help them to focus on the Youth Olympic Games in 2018 and the Junior and Senior World Championships.

“I am very happy to be back at this venue, as this is where I trained and it’s like my home. It’s very good for sporting action.”

The 2017 UIPM U19 World Championships, formerly known as the UIPM Youth A World Championships and comprising a Tetrathlon format (Fencing / Swimming / Laser-Run), conclude on July 24 with the Mixed Relay.

All results are available at the UIPM website.

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