European Under 24 Championships: Özyüksel (TUR) shines brightest to win women’s gold
İlke Özyüksel of Turkey came bounding out of lockdown to become European women’s Under 24 champion in the first Category A Modern Pentathlon competition held since the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic was declared.
On day one of the European U24 Championships in Drzonkow (POL), Özyüksel (TUR) made light work of the field in the Laser Run discipline to win by a distance from silver medallist Lea Egloff of Switzerland and Karolina Krenkova of Czech Republic, who won bronze.
Twenty women from seven countries took part, with Lithuania, Ukraine, Hungary and host nation Poland also entering athletes.
The fastest swimmer in the 25m pool was Iryna Kubrak (UKR) but Fencing was very unpredictable and the winner was not known until the last round. Finally Egloff (SUI) emerged on top with 27V/9D, winning one more bout than Krenkova (CZE) and Özyüksel (TUR).
Riding was organised indoors, with a challenging course for riders with many tight turns. Krenkova (CZE) withstood the pressure to take the overall lead with a clean round, while Özyüksel (TUR) and Egloff (SUI) each conceded 14 penalties.
Laser Run also took place indoors with a 160m loop, and Laser Run world record holder Özyüksel (TUR) comfortably overcame the 15sec starting lead held by Krenkova (CZE), who was eventually beaten to silver by Egloff (SUI) by just 1sec.
UIPM Executive Board Member for Sport, Montréal 1976 Olympic champion Janusz Peciak (POL), attended the competition and said: “It was wonderful to see our athletes taking part in a Category A competition after such a long break and we also saw a fantastic performance from the organisers.
“It was super, super safe and all athletes and coaches adopted very well to the necessarily difficult conditions. Temperatures were checked, there was constant social distancing and disinfectants were everywhere.
“Spectators could only watch the competition on devices or via the screen, and all live results were available on WhatsApp and made available on the big screen with no physical contact or printing.
“All delegations received a special protection kit against COVID-19 and during the technical meeting, there were full explanations and instructions designed to minimise any risk of virus transmission.”