UIPM 2022 Pentathlon World Championships: Micheli (ITA) and Choong (GBR) are new world champions
- Elena Micheli (ITA) claims maiden World crown as she holds off Gulyas (HUN) for gold
- Joseph Choong (GBR) completes his set of major titles with first World Championship win
- Team gold for France and Great Britain as eight countries claim Super Saturday medals
Elena Micheli of Italy and Joseph Choong of Great Britain have been crowned champions of the world for the first time as a truly Super Saturday lived up to its billing at the UIPM 2022 Pentathlon World Championships.
In the Men’s Final, Choong (GBR) completed a glittering personal collection of major prizes as he added a first World Championship title to his Olympic gold from Tokyo last summer and the World Cup Final crown he claimed in 2019. However the Briton was chased all the way by a stirring Laser Run performance from Mohamed Elgendy who claimed silver for Egypt, to the delight of the home fans in Alexandria. Balazs Szep of Hungary claimed his first World Championship medal as he pipped France’s Christopher Patte to bronze. Elgendy’s older brother, Tokyo silver medalist Ahmed Elgendy (EGY), continued his return from injury with a fifth-place finish while Valentin Prades (FRA) was sixth.
Later in the Women’s Final, Micheli (ITA) crowned a stunning season with her first world title, going one better than her breakthrough silver medal at the 2019 World Championships in Budapest as she held off a gripping attack from Michelle Gulyas (HUN), who was nonetheless elated with silver. Turkey’s Ilke Ozyuksel produced a quite stunning Laser Run performance to jump all the way from 12th to the podium as she took bronze from the grasp of Elodie Clouvel (FRA). Olivia Green (GBR) was close behind in fifth with the home crowd roaring Salma Abdelmaksoud (EGY) to sixth. The age profile of the women’s podium — with all three medalists under 25 — only further whets the appetite for the Paris Olympics in 2024.
There was consolation for France as they claimed Men’s Team gold while silver went to Hungary with Germany claiming bronze. In the Women’s final it was Great Britain who took Team gold with silver and bronze going the direction of Korea and Hungary respectively.
The opening rounds in the Men’s Riding were immaculate, enabling Woongtae Jun (KOR), Martin Vlach of Czech Republic and Elgendy (EGY) to improve their medal chances with perfect scores of 300. But Patrick Dogue (GER) suffered two knockdowns and then Jan Kuf (CZE) was unseated, resulting in instant elimination.
Into the top six, the two Valentins, Prades (FRA) and Belaud (FRA), went clear and so did Mohamed Elgendy (EGY) and Pele Uibel (GER). Jinhwa Jung (KOR) then dropped 24 points, but final rider Choong (GBR) held his nerve to deliver the 10th clear round of the day.
Choong (GBR) put himself in pole position in the Fencing Ranking Round with 24V/11D, a score matched by Jung (KOR) and Uibel (GER). Mohamed Elgendy (EGY) also performed well with 23V/12D with the France duo of Prades and Belaud two victories behind them.
At the other end of the scale, two of the sport’s leading performers, Jun (KOR) and Vlach (CZE), left themselves with a lot of work to do after scoring 13V/22D.
Richard Bereczki (HUN) was the early mover in the Bonus Round, claiming four victories to add eight points to his overall score. But the star of the round was Dogue (GER), who climbed the ladder with six consecutive wins for a 12-point bonus.
Jung (KOR) finally ended his run, but Choong (GBR) continued his flawless performance by defeating his rival in the final bout to top up his overall score by four and move clear of Uibel (GER).
From the back of the field, Jun (KOR) did his best to make up the deficit with a winning swim of 2min 00.73sec, but only one athlete broke the 2min mark and it was Ahmed Elgendy (EGY) with a superb 1:59.87. But Choong (GBR) was not in the mood to give anything away and won the final heat in 2:01.12.
With a 20-second lead, Olympic champion Choong (GBR) knew exactly what he was doing and he controlled the race with consistent accuracy on the range and steady running.
Behind him, the tension was electric as Mohamed Elgendy (EGY) and Szep (HUN) made light of handicaps of 24sec and 36sec respectively. It was on the very first circuit that Szep (HUN) leapt up seven places and he never let the chasing pack get close to stealing his hard-earned bronze.
As for the battle for gold, there was almost a repeat of Tokyo 2020 as Choong (GBR) found a member of the Elgendy family threatening to rewrite the script. On every lap, the teenager made up ground on the leader, eventually coming within 4sec at the final split. But just as the home crowd were starting to dream of a fairytale, Choong (GBR) summoned his well-known energy reserves and pulled away in the closing stages of the final lap, to take the title.
Behind the top three, Patte (FRA) worked incredibly hard to finish 4th, with only Ahmed Elgendy (EGY) in 5th breaking up a French procession, as Prades (FRA) and Belaud (FRA) came home next.
Typically, Vlach (CZE) recorded the fastest time of 10:11.50 to finish 12th overall, while Szep (HUN) caught the eye with an impressive 10:14.00.
With the Men’s Final having served up a splendid display of Riding skills earlier in the day, the Women had a high standard to reach. But they duly matched their male counterparts as 10 of the 18 competitors recorded clear rounds.
With Micheli (ITA) among those notching a perfect 300 points, she maintained her position at the front of the field but so many of the leading contenders were faultless, Clouvel (FRA), Rebecca Langrehr (GER) and Gulyas (HUN) among them. There was disappointment for home hopes as Malak Ismail (EGY) was the only one of the 18 riders to be eliminated as she took a tumble, Sunwoo Kim (KOR) also enduring a difficult time as she dropped 41 points.
A tight Fencing Ranking Round saw Micheli (ITA) put herself in contention, topping the standings alongside Sarolta Simon (HUN) and Mayan Oliver of Mexico after a score of 22V/13D.
Clouvel (FRA) and Gulyas (HUN) stayed in touch with 20V/15D, while two of the world’s best Laser Runners, Jessica Varley (GBR) and Ozyuksel (TUR), found themselves needing to play catch-up with respective scores of 15V/20D and 13V/22D.
And catch up Ozyuksel (TUR) did, as the specialist caught fire in the Bonus Round reeling off six victories and adding 12 points to her total before Abdelmaksoud (EGY) finally brought that red-hot run to an end.
Langrehr (GER) also moved up the leaderboard as she picked up four points but the most eye-catching meeting of the round was provided by Clouvel (FRA) and Gulyas (HUN) whose feisty showdown went the way of the Hungarian. Micheli (ITA) cemented her lead as she also picked up four points.
Under the fluorescent night lights, there was clarity in the pool as the Swimming round saw the leading European trio of Micheli (ITA), Clouvel (FRA) and Gulyas (HUN) separate themselves somewhat from their rivals by going 1-2-3, leader Micheli (ITA) the only one to go sub-2:10. Abdelmaksoud (EGY) won the second heat in the fourth-fastest overall time of 2:13.87.
Just 18 seconds separated the leader Micheli (ITA) from Clouvel (FRA) and Gulyas (HUN) as the top three athletes in the world rankings led the field for the decisive Laser Run but with so much talent within striking distance it promised to be a pulsating conclusion.
Micheli (ITA) set off in confident mood but the first shoot saw nerves from her rivals as Clouvel (FRA) struggled through a a 25-second shoot. That opened the door to Abdelmaksoud (EGY) as Green (GBR) also moved up through the field.
The lead of Micheli (ITA) had stretched to 20 seconds by the time they reached the range for a second time but Gulyas (HUN) lit up five green lights in just eight brilliant seconds to gain ground. Abdelmaksoud (EGY) had now moved up into third with Green (GBR) stalking Clouvel (FRA) and Ozyuksel (TUR) now climbing up into 8th place, things were definitely hotting up.
As a frantic battle for bronze was playing out behind them, fierce rivals but great friends Micheli (ITA) and Gulyas (HUN) were fighting to top the podium. So much would come down to the final shoot it seemed and as both held their nerve, Micheli (ITA) sped away with the slightest lead only to stretch it out as she showed remarkable reserves to race clear of Gulyas (HUN) who crossed the line with a smile on her face continuing her record of claiming a medal at every event she has competed at this year.
A stunning final shoot from Ozyuksel (TUR) completed her remarkable rise up the leaderboard and she crossed for bronze ahead of a disappointed Clouvel (FRA). The British competitors were also impressive climbers as Green (GBR) rose from 8th to 5th while Varley (GBR) blazed a trail from 15th all the way up to 7th. Oliver (MEX) knew she had given herself too much work to do but nonetheless could be proud of being one of just three finalists to go sub-11:30, Ozyuksel (TUR) unsurprisingly fastest of all in 11:16.40 with Varley (GBR) clocking in at 11:18.50.
Men’s Gold medalist Choong (GBR) was asked how the words ‘world champion’ sounded: “It sounds good. I’ve said this in interviews before but ever since I was a kid, I always wanted to say I was the best in the world at something. I won the Olympics and that’s obviously the biggest thing you can win, but world champion literally means you are number one in the world. I’ve got the set now.
“I’ve been a bit of a lazy slug this year. I took a lot of time out after Tokyo, which I think I needed mentally. I’ve been on and off with media things, my mind has been everywhere. Obviously the horse riding debate is a massive distraction and that’s still ongoing. There’s been a load of things and training has been a little all over the place this year. My priority has been on trying to get the athlete voice represented and keep horse riding.
“One hundred percent, [a gold medal in Paris] is the goal going forward. This was the first competition I have taken really seriously. It’s the first time I’ve felt something close to the focus I had for Tokyo. This is the first time all year I have shaved my legs for the swim! I was a little bit disappointed with the difficulty of the Riding course. It was lessening the skill that we all need in Riding. That’s something that we might actually want to build up so that we don’t have the same result as in Tokyo. But overall, it’s such a nice facility here. The sun is too hot, I don’t like it. But it’s a beautiful course, it’s grass. The swimming pool is really nice and the fencing hall is cool. It’s been a nice competition.”
Silver medalist Elgendy (EGY) said: “I’m so happy for this medal. It was a long season for me. It was my first World Cup season. The last four World Cups, I was competing for a medal but the Riding was not good, I took an elimination. This was my first competition to complete a course and it was clear, so I was so happy. After clearing the horse riding, I expected to have this medal. I am so happy.
Bronze medalist Szep (HUN) said “It was my sixth or seventh competition in this year but I’m very happy. It was an unbelievable competition for me, so it’s very good. It was very important to get a quick start. In my mind I pushed in the first 600 metres and I just focused in the shooting so it was very good.”
Women’s gold medallist Micheli (ITA) said: “I can’t imagine in this moment that I have won. I have to admit that yesterday I was thinking about it. I said ‘oh I’m first after the Fencing and I can do it. It depends on my horse riding and my ability to focus’. And I did it. I’m so excited. I have to say thank you to all my staff, all my coaches who have been working with me all this year. We worked for it and we did it. I won’t stop smiling for the rest of this day!”
Silver medallist Gulyas (HUN) said: “I’m very happy and very thankful to my coaches and my family and everyone who helped me achieve this second medal today. After Fencing I didn’t even think I could finish [here] in such an amazing competition so I’m very happy. Elena is a great athlete. I think we really enjoy racing together, we are always close after each other all the time and taking each other’s places. It’s really exciting. I love her as a person, she is a great athlete so I’m happy to compete with her.”
Bronze medallist Ozyuksel (TUR) said: “I want to cry. Normally I am so excited. Today I focused on myself, I was so relaxed, I trusted myself. I tried to do my best. Shooting was not so good but that last shooting, it got me to a bronze medal. I hope I can break the bronze medal and make it a gold medal but I’m really so happy because this is my first time getting a senior World Championships medal so I can’t understand my feelings, really. Thanks to my mum, of course!”
UIPM President Dr Klaus Schormann said: “It was a very exciting final day for the women and men. The men started under weather conditions which were very hot but the athletes have performed so well in this excellent facility. There were really well selected horses for both the men and the women. My thanks for the organizer for this. Thanks too to the volunteers and the sponsors.
“The exciting moment in the Men’s Final was again in the Laser Run when the Olympic champion was trying to keep clear of a talented field. Thanks to the coaches and trainers who have helped prepare these athletes for such great competition.
“It was the same then later for the Women’s Final. It was even more exciting, because it was so very close between the Hungarian athlete and our winner from Italy. Ilke from Turkey was a big surprise coming all the way up from 12th place to 3rd place. Congratulations to all the women who have performed and shown what they have been preparing for all season.
“We have shown again that this New Format is the way to go forward in seasons 2023 and 2024. Tomorrow we will have a great Relay competition and I look forward to seeing athletes competing in a team setting with so much spirit. With so many different countries and continents on the podium we remain very proud of what we have developed and delivered in these recent years.”
Watch and follow
The UIPM 2022 Pentathlon World Championships conclude with the Mixed Relay on Sunday, July 31. Live coverage is available on UIPM.TV and up-to-date results competitions can be found at the UIPM website and via the UIPM Central app.
|Rank||Name||Nation||MP Points||Rank||Name||Nation||MP Points|
|1||CHOONG Joseph||GBR||1514||1||MICHELI Elena||ITA||1416|
|2||ELGENDY Mohamed||EGY||1512||2||GULYAS Michelle||HUN||1412|
|3||SZEP Balazs||HUN||1507||3||OZYUKSEL Ilke||TUR||1405|
|4||PATTE Christopher||FRA||1504||4||CLOUVEL Elodie||FRA||1397|
|5||ELGENDY Ahmed||EGY||1499||5||GREEN Olivia||GBR||1395|
|6||PRADES Valentin||FRA||1495||6||ABDELMAKSOUD Salma||EGY||1391|
|7||BELAUD Valentin||FRA||1492||7||VARLEY Jessica||GBR||1389|
|8||DEMETER Bence||HUN||1489||8||OLIVER Mayan||MEX||1388|
|9||DOGUE Marvin Faly||GER||1489||9||HEREDIA Laura||ESP||1381|
|10||BOHM Csaba||HUN||1483||10||FOLLETT Charlie||GBR||1377|
|11||UIBEL Pele||GER||1479||11||KRENKOVA Karolina||CZE||1366|
|12||VLACH Martin||CZE||1475||12||LANGREHR Rebecca||GER||1360|
|13||BERECZKI Richard||HUN||1464||13||JANG Haeun||KOR||1355|
|14||JUNG Jinhwa||KOR||1458||14||POTAPENKO Elena||KAZ||1354|
|15||POLIVKA Ondrej||CZE||1453||15||SEONG Seungmin||KOR||1343|
|16||DOGUE Patrick||GER||1449||16||SIMON Sarolta||HUN||1342|
|17||JUN Woongtae||KOR||1408||17||KIM Sunwoo||KOR||1289|
|18||KUF Jan||CZE||0||18||ISMAIL Malak||EGY||1023|