UIPM 2022 Laser Run World Championships: Nika (GRE) and Gutkowski (POL) lead gold rush
The UIPM 2022 Laser Run World Championships have drawn to a close after three days of highly competitive racing in blissful weather.
The 7th edition of the most popular gathering in the global UIPM Sports movement rewrote the record books, with more than 700 participants from 26 countries – including 16 para athletes from four countries – taking part across the 12 age categories.
Under-9 Youth athletes and Masters 70+ veterans mingled in a festival atmosphere at the riverside Parque das Nacoes, and the whole world was able to watch the action in the first-ever live stream of the championships at UIPM.TV.
First introduced as a standalone sport by the UIPM in 2015, Laser Run has been a runaway success story as its dynamic and ultra-accessible appeal has seen the sport adopted by athletes and fans across the world.
Laser Run, which is also the final discipline of Modern Pentathlon, combines running and shooting in fast-paced and dynamic races including four rounds of laser pistol shooting and four laps of a course measuring 200m-800m.
All competition results from the UIPM 2022 Laser Run World Championships are listed on the UIPM website.
Senior men’s champion Lukasz Gutkowski of Poland said: “The last shooting was really hard, mentally not physically. I had four green lights and then I made three or four mistakes, but then I ran fast for the last 600 metres to get this gold medal.
“I’m very happy. I ended my season one week ago after the European Championships, and I didn’t know where to go for the holidays but then I saw that Lisbon was hosting the Laser Run World Championships and I thought ‘OK, let’s go, let’s do this for fun’, and now I’m the gold medallist so it’s nice.
“Next year the most important competition will be the European Championships because it’s the main qualifier for Paris 2024. That’s the main goal.”
Junior women’s champion Zara Temesi of Australia said: “I wasn’t even thinking for most of the race, I was just going by the feel of all the training.
“All my team-mates back in Australia, they just made this all possible for me.
“It’s just an amazing experience, I’ve always dreamed of this. It’s almost 22 hours to get here, and we always have some issues losing baggage and so on, but we got here and it was so worth it.”
U15 boys’ champion Aly Aboelfetouh of Egypt said: “I feel excited, great, fantastic. I just want to thank my mom, the best supporter from 6am until 12am, she is working day and night. I want to thank my coaches, they didn’t come out unfortunately but they said that I would do it on my own and I actually did that.
“I want to thank every team-mate that was with me, supporting me, doing their best and pushing me forward. It feels amazing and I don’t think that I won myself, it’s Egypt that won. Very fantastic.
“With the best of luck I will become an Olympian just like Ahmed Elgendy. I’m very proud that he’s an Egyptian and the second Olympian. My role model.”
Great Britain and host nation Portugal enjoyed the most overall success, winning 15 and 11 gold medals (34 and 46 medals in total) respectively. Egypt finished third in the medal table with 10 medals including six golds, while South Africa went home with 18 medals.
Gutkowsi (POL), a Tokyo 2020 Olympian pentathlete currently ranked 27th in the world, won the senior men’s title ahead of Lithuania duo Titas Puronas (silver) and Paulius Vagnorius (bronze), who combined to win the team gold.
Duarte Taleigo (POR) won the junior men’s title and doubled up with team gold alongside Duarte Soares (POR) and Goncalo Martinho (POR).
Pinelopi Nika of Greece became the new women’s world champion with Aranka Chalup of Czech Republic (silver) and Wiktoria Wierzba (POL) joining her on the podium. The France trio of Celie Lisnard, Victoria Michon and Marine Bonneaud won the senior women’s team gold.
Australia dominated the women’s junior event with Zara Temesi scooping the individual title and sharing team gold with individual bronze medallist Genevieve van Rensburg and Tully Watt.
There were also gold medals for Austria, Germany, Hungary, Latvia and Spain.
UIPM and partner comments
UIPM President Dr Klaus Schormann said: “Once again our global sporting community has confirmed the huge appetite for opportunities to compete at international level in UIPM Sports.
“The UIPM 2022 Laser Run World Championships, with more than 700 athletes including 16 para athletes, will be remembered as one of the most inclusive competitions in the history of our movement, and I congratulate everyone who was involved in preparing the athletes and the venue for this special celebration.
“We are very grateful to the Portuguese Modern Pentathlon Federation (FPPM) for hosting its second Laser Run World Championships and we are looking forward now to the UIPM 2022 Biathle-Triathle World Championships in Machico in October.”
Joao Pereira, FPPM President, added: “It’s a great pleasure that the Portuguese federation was able to organise the UIPM 2022 Laser Run World Championships.
“It was a great challenge for us and an opportunity for us to demonstrate to the world that we can organise big competitions for people coming to this very peaceful place.
“We hope that all members of the community around the world see the pictures and see that Portugal is happy to organise competitions for the UIPM Sports family.”
Watch and follow
Each day of the UIPM 2022 Laser Run World Championships can be watched on playback at UIPM.TV.
The next competition of the regular season is the UIPM 2022 Biathle-Triathle World Championships in Machico (POR) from October 26-30.