UIPM 2022 Pentathlon World Cup Cairo: Sharp shooting leads host nation Egypt to Mixed Relay gold
- Salma Abdelmaksoud and Mohanad Shaban (EGY) produce brilliant Laser Run to top podium
- Great Britain’s run of team medals continues with silver while Turkey take bronze
- Cairo event a resounding success for New Format and UIPM shows solidarity with Ukraine
The host nation brought the curtain down on the first World Cup of the season in some style as Salma Abdelmaksoud and Mohanad Shaban (EGY) claimed Mixed Relay gold on the closing day of UIPM 2022 Pentathlon World Cup Cairo on Sunday.
It was a show of simply spectacular shooting that proved decisive for the young duo as they raced clear of the field at the American University in their nation’s capital city.
Great Britain’s run of Mixed Relay podium places at consecutive major events continued with Jessica Varley and debutant Ross Charlton (GBR) combining impressively to take silver with a fierce battle behind them for third. In the end, Bugra Unal (TUR) produced a sprint finish to claim bronze for he and Ilke Ozyuksel (TUR) with the second Egyptian team of Amira Kandil and Eslam Hamad (EGY) in fourth.
Guatemala’s duo of Gabriela Fernandez and Juan Ochoa (GUA) held off a renewed push from Spain, who had started the Laser Run in first place, to take fifth with Andrea Medina Gonzalez and Cristian Chamizo (ESP) consoling themselves with sixth place.
The pulsating Mixed Relay brought a close to a hugely successful week in Cairo where the first World Cup of the new cycle proved that Modern Pentathlon’s New Format brings even more drama and tension at every step of the competition and is sure to be a success at the Paris Olympic Games in 2024.
Gold medalist Shaban savoured victory alongside Abdelmaksoud and said: “It’s amazing for us to win the gold in our country, Egypt. It’s very good for us because we are 22 years old. I think we are younger and growing. In other competitions we will take more top 6 and top 10 places. I hope to continue to be good like today.”
Reflecting on another podium place for a Great British team, Jessica Varley said: “I’m just so excited that we were able to put it together. We knew that we had a really good shot going into the Laser Run and it all paid off. It was good fun!
Teammate Charlton added: “I’m over the moon. This is my first World Cup so I’m really happy that I was given the opportunity to compete in the Mixed Relay. We had some ups and downs but we kept it together. I’m so happy.”
For Turkey, bronze was a fitting reward and Ozyuksel said: “It’s our first medal in the Mixed Relay. We are so happy. I have only won individual medals but now have won a Mixed Relay one with my friend today. We pushed so hard. The last 600 metres almost gave me a heart attack but we’re so happy to start the season like this. It’s the motivation we needed.”
It was Spain (Gonzalez/Chamiso) who kept their nerves most impressively as they recorded the day’s best Riding score of 296 points, narrowly ahead of the first Egyptian duo (Abdelmaksoud/Shaban) with Guatemala (Fernandez/Ochoa) in third place with 279 points.
The Fencing Bonus Round offered teams the chance to set things back on course and build on their score from the Fencing Ranking Round, which had taken place earlier in the day. It was again Abdelmaksoud and Shaban (EGY) who took their opportunity as they added six points in the Bonus Round while Italy’s duo of Beatrice Mercuri and Stefano Frezza (ITA) added four to their already impressive total to finish as the Fencing discipline’s top team. There had been further joy for the host nation on the piste when Kandil and Hamad (EGY) recorded the most victories in the Ranking Round, with 28.
The pace of the competition may have been catching up with a couple of the teams but as the action moved to the pool, both of Egypt’s teams put on a blistering display of Swimming. Abdelmaksoud and Shaban (EGY) were fastest of all in 1:59.16 but not to be outdone Kandil and Hamad (EGY) also went sub-2 minutes, just 31 hundredths of a second behind their compatriots. The consistency of Spain (Gonzalez/Chamiso) continued to impress as they finished third in the pool in 2:01.62 to ensure they would be first off in the Laser Run but Turkey (Ozyuksel/Unal) weren’t far behind.
As the sun shone down on the Laser Run track, tensions were high ahead of the decisive stage of proceedings. Spain (Gonzalez/Chamiso) began with a four-second advantage but in truth, all of the teams in the top six knew that there was still everything to play for.
Gonzalez (ESP) reached the opening shoot in first place but that’s where Egypt’s precision would spectacularly surge them to the front of the field. Abdelmaksoud (EGY) put up five green lights in less than 10 seconds and sped off for her next lap.
Remarkably, she was even more unerring next time round as she recorded a clean shoot in less than 7 seconds to open up a yawning gap with the rest. Behind her though Varley (GBR) had scythed through the field to move from sixth to second.
At Abdelmaksoud handed over to Shaban (EGY) the home favourites just needed to keep their nerve. Turkey (Ozyuksel/Unal) trailed the British duo (Varley/Charlton) at the changeover with the second Egyptian team (Kandil/Hamad) still eyeing up a medal too.
The shooting prowess of Shaban (EGY) matched that of his teammate even with Charlton (GBR) breathing down his neck. A rapid clear shoot on the final trip to the range sealed glory with Great Britain (Varley/Charlton) in second thanks to the Laser Run’s fastest time of 12:15.83. Unal’s final surge claimed bronze for Turkey.
UIPM President Dr. Klaus Schormann said: “This, for all of us, was a special moment. For the athletes, this New Format saw the athletes perform to the highest level. We know it’s not easy to do something new but they have been so impressive. Everything went great in a wonderful environment here. We are so thankful to the athletes and coaches for a special first World Cup of 2022.
“We have seen winners from different countries and continents and that’s important but it’s also important that the athletes have enjoyed this format. We are just starting on the road to Paris. I am sure that as the season progresses we will have more experiences and learnings of this new way. But this was a big step for us this week.
“This is a new era. I am always happy to see new faces and new names on the podium. It shows our sport is alive. We know that we will change Riding after 2024 and make our multisport more accessible around the world. These young athletes compete in the traditional way but they are also the generation for Los Angeles 2028 and that motivates us to do more for them.”
A SYMBOL OF SOLIDARITY WITH UKRAINE
President Dr. Klaus Schormann and the entire UIPM family were conscious that this week’s World Cup took place during a dark moment for the world due to the war in Ukraine. In an important show of solidarity with the Ukrainian pentathlon community, UIPM invited Ukrainian competitor Maksym Aharushev (UKR) to Cairo and covered his participation fee, transportation and hotel costs for the entire delegation. Aharushev (UKR) competed admirably in the Men’s competition, qualifying for the Semi-finals. His participation was just one sign of the support UIPM is offering Ukrainian athletes and officials in this troubled time.
President Schormann said: “We have a war in Ukraine and this is a difficult time. We were delighted to have a Ukrainian athlete with us this week. We feel sorry for our Russian and Belorusian athletes but a war is a war and there have been consequences. We really hope to see peace be given a chance and we know that sport can send a great message on this.”
WATCH AND FOLLOW
The UIPM 2022 Pentathlon World Cup season moves next to Hungary where the second leg will take place in Budapest from April 26 to May 1.
Live stream of the Finals will be available on UIPM TV and up-to-date results of all competitions are available at the UIPM website.
|6||MEDINA GONZALEZ Andrea
|9||VALENCIA FRANCO Paula Sophia
|10||FERNANDEZ DONDA Esther