UIPM 2020 Pentathlon World Cup Cairo: Egypt dominate Mixed Relay
- Morsy & Hamad (EGY) team up to win gold for host nation
- Abdelmaksoud & Elgendy (EGY) come from behind to secure silver
- Korea (Jun/Kim) hang on to bronze ahead of Guatemala (Cabrera/Fernandez)
Egypt had two reasons to celebrate on the final day of UIPM 2020 Pentathlon World Cup Cairo after clinching both the gold and silver medals in the Mixed Relay.
The title was claimed by Haydy Morsy and Eslam Hamad, who fended off the challenge of their younger compatriots Salma Abdelmaksoud and Ahmed Elgendy.
For Morsy (EGY), it was a familiar feeling as she also won Mixed Relay gold in this competition 12 months ago – with Elgendy (EGY) as her partner.
Behind them, Korea won a medal for the second successive day as Kim Sunwoo and Jung Jinhwa teamed up to claim bronze, beating off strong competition from Guatemala (Sofia Cabrera and Charles Fernandez).
Hamad (EGY), who became Mixed Relay world champion in 2019 alongside Abdelmaksoud (EGY), said: “It feels great. It was a very exciting competition and a very close race and we had to push it home. Thank God we had enough.
“The atmosphere was very lovely and lots of people came to cheer for us. It’s always very nice to win here in our own motherland of Egypt, and I’m very happy.”
His partner Morsy (EGY) added: “Especially after my semi-final, which was very bad, I am very happy to win in front of my family and friends and win gold for the second year in a row in my home country.”
Silver medallist Elgendy (EGY) said: “It’s a great feeling to win silver in the Mixed Relay with my partner, and even better to have two Egyptian teams on the podium.
“We did the best swim, we had a very good fence but then the Riding was not so good and we slipped back to 6th place. However, our Laser Run went well and we made it back to 2nd place.
“After the first shoot, I decreased the lead held by Eslam but then my second shoot was not so good and he was able to increase his lead again.
“I feel great to win another medal in my home country. Our audience and supporters are always cheering for us.”
Bronze medallist Jung (KOR) said: “Today was hard, but we ended up with a good place and it feels great.”
Abdelmaksoud & Elgendy (EGY) led the way in the pool with the fastest time of 1min 58.37sec, ahead of Kim & Jung (KOR) in 1:59.16 and their compatriots Jeong Mina and Jung Seul Gi (KOR) in 2:01.55.
With 18V/8D, Morsy & Hamad (EGY) had the edge on their rivals in the Fencing Ranking Round and they also won the last bout of the Bonus Round.
However, it was tight with Jeong & Jung (KOR) and Abdelmaksoud & Elgendy (EGY) scoring 17V/9D and Germany (Anna Matthes and Alexander Nobis) and Uzbekistan (Alise Fakhrutdinova and Alexander Savkin) staying in touch with 15V/11D.
It was on horseback that Morsy & Hamad (EGY) really took a firm grip on the competition, with the only perfect score of 300 recorded on the day – to the delight of the home crowd.
Four other duos also enjoyed clean rounds with only time penalties – Cabrera & Fernandez (GUA), Fakhrutdinova & Savkin (UZB), Kim & Jung (KOR) and Brazil (Isabela Abreu & Danilo Fagundes).
With a 22sec head start, Morsy (EGY) knew she had time on her side but a 28sec shoot was not the start she would have wanted.
Nonetheless, the 2019 African champion – who became the first athlete to secure a qualification place for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games 12 months ago – ran hard to keep her rivals at bay.
Her chief contender was her team-mate Abdelmaksoud (EGY), who immediately devoured the 8sec gap between 2nd and 6th to put pressure on the leader.
Morsy (EGY) handed over a reduced lead to Hamad (EGY), who immediately felt Elgendy (EGY) breathing down his neck. Like his partner, he ran with confidence to preserve the lead, and when Elgendy (EGY) took 18sec at the final shoot, it left him with too much to do.
Fernandez (GUA) sized up Jung (KOR) in the race for bronze, but ultimately he had too much distance to make up and the 2017 men’s individual world champion held his nerve to secure bronze.
UIPM President Dr Klaus Schormann said: “Today we had the first Mixed Relay of the 2020 season and it was super to see that the top six nations came from four continents.
“This shows the successful global development of the Mixed Relay, which is important for us and which we hope to be included on the programme of the Olympic Summer Games Paris 2024.
“When athletes compete together as a team, there is immediately another atmosphere and the team spirit is dominant. Egypt are always strong in these events and my colleague, the President of the International Handball Federation, Hassan Moustafa, remarked that every time he comes to a UIPM competition, he sees Egypt win.
“I have to say thanks to all the nations that competed in this Mixed Relay competition which has such a special meaning for us, and we have had a great week here at the start of the 2020 season.
“I have to mention the women’s individual competition – we had the highest entry numbers ever in the first World Cup of the season. My thanks go to all the coaches and trainers for what you have achieved so far after the winter training.
“We are all looking forward to the remaining World Cups and hoping that the Coronavirus can be controlled and the athletes will not be affected in attending the upcoming competitions. Everything we decide will be for the benefit of the athletes.”
WATCH AND FOLLOW
UIPM 2020 Pentathlon World Cup Cairo has now concluded and the next two instalments in the series will take place in Sofia (BUL).
UIPM 2020 Pentathlon World Cup Sofia I is scheduled for March 24-28 and UIPM 2020 Pentathlon World Cup Sofia II takes place a week later (April 2-5).
JUNG Seul Gi
|9||OLIVER Catherine Mayran