UIPM 2022 Pentathlon World Cup Ankara: Golden glory for Varley (GBR) and Choong (GBR)
- Reti (HUN) splits British medallists in Women’s Final as French (GBR) claims bronze
- Bohm makes it two silvers for Hungary in a gripping spring finish to Men’s Final
- Malan (ITA) returns from injury to claim first World Cup medal with bronze
Jessica Varley and Joseph Choong doubled up to make it a truly Super Saturday for Great Britain at UIPM 2022 Pentathlon World Cup Ankara.
In the Women’s Final, first-time medallist Kamilla Reti of Hungary was the only athlete standing between Great Britain and a clean sweep, as she forced Olympic champion Kate French (GBR) to settle for bronze ahead of 4th-placed Charlie Follett (GBR).
In the Men’s Final, it was Tokyo gold medalist Choong (GBR) whose class eventually told as finalists made light of testing weather conditions in an absolutely thrilling Laser Run. Csaba Bohm of Hungary was a very close second in a sprint finish with Giorgio Malan of Italy claiming the first medal of his World Cup career as he took bronze.
For the second successive Pentathlon World Cup, Ozyuksel (TUR) achieved a perfect score of 300 in Riding and her clean round was applauded loudly by an excited crowd.
Six other athletes had an unblemished scorecard, and it was Francesca Tognetti of Italy who moved into the overall lead after Rebecca Langrehr of Germany dropped 24 points with two knockdowns and a refusal.
The other 300 scorers were team-mates Varley and Follett (GBR), Blanka Guzi (HUN), Elena Potapenko of Kazakhstan and Salma Abdelmaksoud of Egypt.
Langrehr (GER), ended up top of the standings in the Ranking Round with an impressive 25V/10D, and she added four points in the Bonus Round by beating Marlena Jawaid of Sweden in the final bout.
Tognetti (ITA) and Jawaid (SWE) were only one victory off the lead in the Ranking Round, while French (GBR) was the top British fencer with 21V/14D.
The star of the Bonus Round was Ozyuksel (TUR), who propelled herself into 6th place overall with five victories for an extra 10 points.
Abdelmaksoud (EGY) comfortably recorded the fastest time of the day with a swim of 2:14.95, with Sunwoo Kim of Korea and Joanna Muir (GBR) tied on 2:17.94 and Follett (GBR) only a fraction of a second slower.
Tognetti (ITA) started as the athlete to catch, with Follett (GBR) and Langrehr (GER) next in the standings – but none of them were in the medal equation 12 minutes later after a dramatic sequence of changes.
Initially it was Follett (GBR) and Abdelmaksoud (EGY) who made the gains at the front, with Ozyuksel (TUR) and French (GBR) lurking threateningly. Behind them, the moves were even more significant as Reti (HUN) and Varley (GBR) began to overtake athletes for fun.
Having started in 13th, a truly exceptional Laser Run time of 11:08.86 allowed Varley (GBR) to sample her first taste of Pentathlon World Cup gold, as the tall, formidable runner stunned the leading pack at the last shoot to take a lead she was never going to relinquish.
French (GBR) was now in the familiar position of a podium place, but Reti (HUN) did extremely well to outpace the Olympic champion on the last lap. Behind the medallists, Follett (GBR) and Abdelmaksoud (EGY) stayed in front of 6th-placed Ozyuksel (TUR), who didn’t manage to find her usual electric pace in front of the home crowd.
The destination of the men’s medals was thrown firmly up in the air when Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medallist Woongtae Jun of Korea was one of five finalists who were eliminated in a hugely eventful Riding discipline. Jun (KOR) dropped down from first place to second last in the process.
The deteriorating conditions were undoubtedly having an effect but there were some remarkable poise amid the storms as Danilo Fagundes of Brazil led a group of seven who achieved a perfect score of 300.
Choong (GBR) was among those to claim the maximum as well as the Italian pairing of Mattia Parisi and Malan, Vladislav Sukharev of Kazakhstan, Hungary’s Bence Demeter and Filip Houska of the Czech Republic.
Valentin Prades of France made light of conditions underfoot on a slightly soggy piste to dominate the Fencing Bonus Round, adding an extra eight points to move up to fifth overall.
Changwan Seo of Korea was just as prolific as he also added eight points to his tally while compatriot Jinhwa Jung added two points and the third of their team, Jun (KOR) tried to shake off his Riding misfortune by adding four points to his supreme Fencing Ranking Round score of 26V, which had led the field.
There was a fresh delay of over 10 minutes as the rains sheeted down and athletes huddled under the stands near the outdoor pool but when competition resumed Bohm (HUN) didn’t hang around, recording the fastest time in the pool, 2:02.38. Seo (KOR) was less than 10 split seconds back while Malan (ITA) and Demeter (HUN) were the other two swimmers to dip below 2:04.00.
Sukharev (KAZ) set out ahead of the rest with a nine-second lead in the Laser Run but it was Choong (GBR) who of course loomed large, setting off in second followed by Malan (ITA) and Jung (KOR) with a wave of talent behind him.
Sukharev (KAZ) was holding his own out in front with a steady first shooting round, Choong (GBR) a little slower by his own sky high standards. Some dead-eyed shooting from Seo (KOR) helped him move up a couple of places and by the time they left the range for a second time it was he and Choong (GBR) who were out in front.
But in the wet conditions Malan (ITA) looked to inject some pace to proceedings as he moved to the front of the field. The third visit to the range was the moment when Bohm (HUN) made his own move, a blistering seven-second shoot putting him into second behind Choong and setting up a mouth-watering final shoot with five frontrunners arriving at the range at almost identical times.
What followed was an electrifying shoot as Choong (GBR), Bohm (HUN), Malan (ITA) and Seo (KOR) all fired five rapid green lights and set off for a thrilling sprint finish.
The tight confines meant overtaking opportunities were at a premium and Choong (GBR) refused to give an inch, crossing the line in 10:51.76 just ahead of Bohm (HUN) with Malan (ITA) taking bronze. Seo (KOR) had to make do with fourth followed by Sukharev (KAZ) and Prades (FRA).
Women’s gold medallist Varley (GBR) said: “I honestly can’t believe it. I was just planning on running as fast as I could and trying to focus on shooting well. I came out of the range in first after the last shoot and I didn’t know what to do!
“I was aware of Kamilla being near me and she definitely pushed me on all the runs, and I was just fortunate to get a slightly better shoot at the end.
“I feel like I’ve been working at this for so long, and I’ve always known it’s possible but just to finally do it, I’m just ecstatic and I can’t believe it.”
Silver medallist Reti (HUN) said: “It was amazing, I can’t believe it. The run was perfect for me and I did it! Thank you God, and my team and my family.”
Bronze medallist French (GBR) added: “I’m quite surprised, to be honest. This is my first competition since Tokyo and my first time with the new format, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect. I’m very happy to be on the podium.
“I didn’t expect it at all. It’s quite hard, to be honest, I felt better with the run in the Final than the Semi-final because I was really tired after that, but I seemed to find a bit extra,
“I’ll go back and look back over everything and see what improvements I can make because I made some mistakes, but for my first competition back I couldn’t be happier.”
Men’s gold medallist Choong (GBR) said: “It was a great race. Csaba and Giorgio pushed me harder than I have been rushed in a very long time. It’s great to be back on the top of the podium.
“In qualifying I got one more point than my brother so that was a nice rivalry to have.”
Silver medallist Bohm (HUN) said: “It was a really tough race, especially the last event, Laser Run. I fell down in the first lap but I wasn’t injured. It was so much tougher than other races because Joe and several athletes came here. It was tougher than Cairo but I was really happy to achieve this silver medal.
“I have a really great team behind me who help through everything. I wouldn’t have time to mention all the people surrounding me but I am thankful for them.”
Bronze medallist Malan (ITA) said: “This past three months was very hard for me with injuries. This is my comeback and it feels very, very good. For me the last run was a good sport and I can make up the difference but in my condition right now it was difficult to run very fast.
“I was a little bit worried for my shooting but the last series was very good. I hoped when I saw I was third after the last series I thought I could maybe do a better result than third but third is very good now.”
UIPM President Dr Klaus Schormann said: “For the first time we have organized a World Cup in Turkey, here in Ankara. What we have seen now in these two finals is unbelievable, exciting finishes in both of the Laser Runs. We have to say a big thanks to our organizing committee, the Turkish National Federation of Modern Pentathlon and thanks to all of the athletes. After the qualifications, semi-finals and such strong finals today it shows the profile of our athletes.
“This fourth World Cup was a great highlight to the end of our season before we come to our World Cup Final next week. What we have seen here is super, well-prepared horses, which are suit to our sport. All of the volunteers who have been helping to make this fourth World Cup such a success deserve our warmest congratulations. I also congratulate the athletes and the coaches and look forward to tomorrow’s Mixed Relay.”
Watch and follow
UIPM 2022 Pentathlon World Cup Ankara concludes with the Mixed Relay on Sunday, June 12. 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.
The best 72 athletes in the world will return for the UIPM 2022 Pentathlon World Cup Final, also taking place in Ankara (TUR) from June 24-26.