UIPM 2019 Pentathlon Junior World Championships: Egypt deny Russia famous five in Mixed Relay
Egypt won their second gold medal of the UIPM 2019 Pentathlon Junior World Championships and denied Russia a fifth victory at the end of a thrilling Mixed Relay.
Salma Abdelmaksoud and Ahmed Elgendy (EGY) saved the best for last as they finished a successful competition on a high, winning by 12sec from Kseniia Fraltsova and Andrei Zuev (RUS) with Great Britain (Olivia Green & Myles Pillage) hanging on to bronze after starting the Laser Run in the lead.
As host nation, Poland had two teams among the 18 competing duos and Lukasz Gutkowski was narrowly denied a second bronze medal as he and Natalia Dominiak finished 3sec behind Green & Pillage (GBR).
The other Polish duo, Wiktoria Wierzba and Oskar Paradowski finished 6th, just behind Italy (Beatrice Mercuri & Giorgio Malan). A huge thunderstorm arrived during the final lap of the Laser Run, flattening perimeter boards, but the athletes stuck to their task in the hope of finishing their week on a high.
This championship is often a reliable indicator of who will become the Pentathlon superstars of tomorrow, and Fraltsova (RUS) joined her triple champion team-mate Adelina Ibatullina on three medals after adding a silver to her two golds.
Elgendy (EGY) went home with a gold and a silver medal after his breakthrough success of 2018 in Kladno (CZE), while his fellow 2018 Youth Olympic Games champion Abdelmaksoud (EGY) finished with the same return.
In the final analysis, Russia topped the medals table with four golds and a silver, while Egypt won two golds and two silvers and Great Britain claimed two silvers and two bronzes.
Braving the high winds and rain to speak to UIPM, gold medallist Elgendy (EGY) said: “I’m feeling great about this victory. A silver medal in the individual and a gold medal in the Mixed Relay at the World Championships is very great, for Team Egypt too.
“We did well today in all disciplines. The Riding was a little bit disappointing but it was enough for us to win the gold. Luckily the storm came only during the last 150 metres, so it was not an obstacle for me.”
Silver medallist Fraltsova (RUS) added: “It was amazing today. Too many mistakes in Riding and the other events were not perfect, but good enough.”
Bronze medallist Pillage (GBR) said: “I was really happy with the swim and Olivia and I had a pretty strong fence, but the ride really turned things around for us and we went from 5th to 1st.
“In the Laser Run we made it really difficult for ourselves to get a medal because our shooting wasn’t great, but luckily we held on in the running to get that bronze medal, so we’re really happy.
“When I started out on that last run, I wanted to redeem myself because my shooting hadn’t been good. I was never going to let [Gutkowski (POL)] get that medal.”
Great Britain (Green/Pillage) led the way in the pool with an excellent time of 1:56.38, followed by Italy (Mercuri/Malan) on 1:58.66. Martina Armanazqui and Vicente Lima of Argentina were the third-fastest duo with 1:59.22.
Kim Woocheol and Park Naeun of Korea topped the standings in the Fencing Ranking Round with 23V/15D, and they added two more points in the Bonus Round.
Three nations managed a score of 21V/17D – Argentina (Armanazqui/Lima), Egypt (Abdelmaksoud/Elgendy) and Italy (Mercuri/Malan). Russia (Fraltsova/Zuev) added four points in the Bonus Round.
As six teams suffered the ordeal of elimination, and others struggled, it came as a delight to the home crowd that Wierzba & Paradowski (POL) were the top-performing duo on 297 points, with Dominiak & Gutkowski (POL) not too far behind on 277.
Great Britain (Green/Pillage) put themselves in pole position overall with a solid 285, while Italy (Mercuri/Malan) and Egypt (Abdelmaksoud/Elgendy) just managed to stay in contention.
Green (GBR) started with a 14sec advantage over Mercuri (ITA) with Abdelmaksoud (EGY) and Armanazqui (ARG) in close company. Abdelmaksoud (EGY) overtook Mercuri (ITA) at the first shoot and impressively moved past Green (GBR) at the second visit to the range, while Fraltsova (RUS) moved up to the bronze medal position.
In a dramatic second 200m lap, Fraltsova (RUS) took the lead before handing over to her team-mate Zuev (RUS), but the others were not far behind.
Elgendy (EGY) showed his running prowess to move past Zuev (RUS) and into a lead that he was never going to relinquish. Zuev (RUS) remained in control of silver by a big margin but Gutkowski (POL) left the final shoot ahead of Pillage (GBR), only to find himself reined in by his rival as the skies opened and the scene became a dramatic battle against elemental as well as human forces.
Egypt (Abdelmaksoud/Elgendy) recorded the fastest Laser Run time of 11:12.02, marginally quicker than Russia (Fraltsova/Zuev) in 11:16.03.
UIPM President Dr Klaus Schormann added: “We were finishing the Mixed Relay of the UIPM 2019 Pentathlon Junior World Championships at the very moment when a large thunderstorm arrived, but thankfully everybody is safe.
“Today again we have seen the young generation making their first steps at this high level, and the strongest countries are again winning. I observed a lot of team spirit during the event and also between the disciplines, with the way athletes were communicating with the other nations.
“The competition was exciting and we had changes in the ranking during the Riding. I want to thank all 18 teams for participating in this Mixed Relay and also the organisers who have supported this competition so well. We were joined by distinguished guests, including the President of the Polish Olympic Committee, Andrzej Krasnicki.
“The Mixed Relay is a competition that all athletes like and enjoy, and it should be a part of the Olympic Games in the future.”
WATCH AND FOLLOW
The UIPM 2019 Pentathlon Junior World Championships in Drzonkow (POL) has now concluded. All results and reports can be viewed at the UIPM website or via the “UIPM Central” app.
A busy season continues next week with the UIPM Youth World Championships (U19 & U17) in Sofia (BUL), running from July 18-24.