UIPM 2021 Pentathlon and Laser Run World Championships: All you need to know
- Modern Pentathlon’s elite athletes chase last six automatic Tokyo 2020 places
- Dozens of contenders aim to qualify through UIPM Olympic World Rankings
- Cairo (EGY) hosts flagship competition for almost 600 Modern Pentathlon and Laser Run stars
Twelve months later than anticipated, the world’s most versatile athletes have arrived at the final stop on the road to Tokyo.
With the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games now less than 50 days away, many of Modern Pentathlon’s most celebrated performers still have work to do to secure their place on the start line – with only one chance left to take control of their destiny.
This week’s UIPM 2021 Pentathlon and Laser Run World Championships offers that tantalising prospect – but the gathering in Cairo (EGY) is about much more than elite competition.
From Afghanistan to Argentina, Chile to China, Ecuador to Estonia and United States to Uzbekistan, nearly 200 pentathletes and almost 400 Laser Run specialists from more than 50 countries have assembled in the capital of Egypt.
They have come to compete for glory and medals across individual and relay events, to fulfil their short-term and long-term sporting dreams and to demonstrate the resilience that has brought them through a devastating global pandemic with their commitment to UIPM Sports fully intact.
On the eve of the competition, UIPM President Dr Klaus Schormann spoke at a well-attended media conference along with Egyptian sporting dignitaries. He also took a tour of the facilities in the company of Witold Banka, President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) who was on the first day of an official visit to Egypt.
Like all four UIPM 2021 Pentathlon World Cup competitions held this season, the UIPM 2021 Pentathlon and Laser Run World Championships are being run according to a set of COVID-19 protocols designed to prioritise the health and safety of all participants – athletes, coaches, technical officials and organisers.
A competition bubble has been created around all participants in the UIPM 2021 Pentathlon World Championships, with protocols applied to all aspects of the competition from inbound and outbound travel to accommodation and local transportation, with the intention of minimising risk of COVID-19 infections. Special publications including the Event Organizers Infection Prevention Guidelines and Operational Vade Mecum can be found at UIPM’s COVID-19 information page.
Road to Tokyo
Six more athletes can earn the right to become Olympic pentathletes in Tokyo (JPN) in August by winning a medal this weekend – with up to 20 others in a position to get the result they need to realise their dream.
Up to three women on Saturday and up to three men on Sunday will join the 23 women and 23 men who have already secured a quota place for their countries, with automatic spots available to World Championship medallists according to the criteria set out in the UIPM qualification process.
Dozens of other athletes will push themselves to the limit in pursuit of points to improve their standing in the UIPM Olympic World Rankings (OWR), which will determine most of the remaining places at the Games.
Ones to watch (women)
Can Belarus do it again?
The country won the Women’s Individual world title in 2018 (Anastasiya Prokopenko) and 2019 (Volha Silkina), and with no World Championship taking place in 2020 they still have the chance of a famous hat-trick.
Both previous winners are taking part this week, along with compatriot Iryna Prasiantsova (BLR), as the trio are locked in a fierce internal battle for Olympic qualification.
The withdrawal of the Great Britain team due to a late change in UK Government advice relating to travel to Egypt opens a door for many athletes who have finished behind the prolific Kate French, Joanna Muir and Francesca Summers (GBR) this season.
France can expect to feature strongly, with Marie Oteiza in the form of her life and Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist Elodie Clouvel needing a good performance to secure her Tokyo 2020 place.
World No.2 Annika Schleu of Germany will be hoping to back up her silver medal success from the UIPM 2021 World Cup Final in Szekesfehervar (HUN), while the most improved athlete of 2021 has undoubtedly been Michelle Gulyas of Hungary.
According to the OWR Gulyas (HUN) is currently in possession of one of the quota places that will be awarded to nations via this mechanism, and some of the others looking to defend their position in Cairo (EGY) will be Mayan Oliver of Mexico, Alice Sotero of Italy, Gulnaz Gubaydullina (RMPF), Anna Maliszewska of Poland and Ilke Ozyuksel of Turkey.
As if this array of talent were not enough to create intrigue and dramatic storylines, others in the field include London 2012 Olympic champion Laura Asadauskaite of Lithuania, Rio 2016 bronze medallist Oktawia Nowacka (POL), Asian champion Sehee Kim of Korea, Pan American Games champion Mariana Arceo (MEX) and 2019 world silver medallist Elena Micheli (ITA).
Ones to watch (men)
With a tricky Olympic selection conundrum to resolve, Korea have sent a full team to Cairo (EGY) led by Woongtae Jun (KOR), with former world champion Jinhwa Jung (KOR) and reigning Asian champion Jihun Lee aiming for peak performance.
France are likely to have a say in the outcome with reigning world champion Valentin Belaud lining up alongside Valentin Prades, who won his third Pentathlon World Cup Final in dramatic circumstances last month.
Germany have three top-20-ranked athletes jostling for two coveted Olympic places – brothers Patrick and Marvin Dogue and Fabian Liebig, who has become regarded as one of the fastest finishers in the sport.
Hungary is another country with multiple options in terms of Olympic selection, and there will be an intriguing internal between Bence Demeter (winner of their one quota place) and London 2012 bronze medallist Adam Marosi among others. Competition also remains intense in the Czech Republic, Egypt and Mexico teams.
According to the OWR, Rio 2016 silver medallist Pavlo Tymoshchenko of Ukraine is one of the athletes currently in possession of a quota place, and he is joined high in the pecking order by Marosi (HUN), Liebig (GER), Ilya Palazkov (BLR), Ahmed Hamed (EGY), Sebastian Stasiak (POL) and Jan Kuf (CZE). Other athletes are sure to complicate the equation into hat in Cairo (EGY).
Cairo (EGY) will be the sixth host of the Laser Run World Championships after Perpignan (FRA), Lisbon (POR), Cape Town (RSA), Dublin (IRL) and Budapest (HUN).
Almost 400 athletes are scheduled to compete across the 11 age groups (Under 9 to Masters 60+), with a strong representation from the host nation and other countries such as South Africa and Hungary aiming to repeat their medal success of previous years.
With the Laser Run finals taking place on the last three days, coinciding with the Modern Pentathlon Women’s and Men’s Individual Finals and Mixed Relay, the two competitions will be run separately with races taking place at different times of day.
UIPM President Dr Klaus Schormann said: “I would like to welcome all athletes, coaches and trainers, guests and officials joining us this week in Cairo for UIPM’s flagship annual competition in Modern Pentathlon and Laser Run.
“The UIPM 2021 Pentathlon and Laser Run World Championships is the final qualification competition for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 hosted in 2021. It is the second time we have combined our core Olympic sport with our most popular development sport, Laser Run, for a true celebration of UIPM Sports.
“For more than one year we have been confronted with COVID-19 and life has not been easy, but we learned how to maintain our daily activities with strong discipline and willpower.
“My deep thanks go to the Egyptian Modern Pentathlon Federation and all volunteers, sponsors and supporters. Special thanks also to the city and national government, the National Olympic Committee and the media.
“Let's all stay together very united in the Olympic spirit and celebrating peaceful days through sport. We are looking with a smile on our face to the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, to enshrine the legacy of our creator Pierre de Coubertin!”
Watch and follow
The Pentathlon World Championships will be televised live or ‘as live’ around the world – detailed information about TV broadcasters will be available in due course at the UIPM website.
As of March 15, 2021, the majority of Modern Pentathlon content on UIPM TV (UIPMTV.org) became available only to subscribers. Live coverage of the Laser Run in each competition – together with highlights from earlier in the day – remains free to view.
Annual subscriptions are priced at €29.99 with a special 50% discount (code: UIPM50%OFF) available throughout 2021, reducing the price to €14.95.
- Sign up here for your UIPM TV Yearly Pass or register for free content
Viewers who do not wish to subscribe can register their details on the site to access the free coverage, which will not be available anywhere else online. More information.
Follow World Pentathlon on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram throughout the Pentathlon World Cup for additional content, and visit the UIPM website or download the “UIPM Central” app to keep track of results.
UIPM 2021 Pentathlon World Championships
(* live stream on UIPM TV)
June 8: Women’s Relay
June 9: Men’s Relay
June 10: Women’s Qualification
June 11: Men’s Qualification | Women’s Final Fencing Ranking Round
June 12: Men’s Final Fencing Ranking Round | Women’s Final*
June 13: Men’s Final*
June 14: Mixed Relay*
UIPM 2021 Laser Run World Championships
June 12: Women’s Individual
June 13: Men’s Individual
June 14: Mixed Relays