UIPM 2022 Pentathlon World Cup Final: Hungary storm back to win Mixed Relay
- Stunning comeback seals gold for Gulyas & Szep (HUN)
- Silver completes impressive weekend for Japan (Uchida & Sato)
- World Cup Final debut bronze for Poland (Dominiak & Lawrynowicz)
Michelle Gulyas and Balazs Szep of Hungary wiped out a 35sec deficit to steal Mixed Relay gold on the last day of the UIPM 2022 Pentathlon World Cup Final.
Japan had led all day thanks to a strong all-round performance, but although Misaki Uchida held on to top spot during her Laser Run leg, Gulyas (HUN) made up enough ground for Szep (HUN) to launch a calculated assault on Taishu Sato and he clinched the lead after two stunning shoots, before cruising home.
Behind the top two, Natalia Dominiak and Daniel Lawrynowicz of Poland won a hard-earned bronze ahead of 4th-placed Mexico (Mariana Arceo & Duilio Carrillo), host nation Turkey (Ilke Ozyuksel & Bugra Unal) and Egypt (Salma Abdelmaksoud & Eslam Hamad).
Hungary topped the Pentathlon World Cup Final medal table with one gold and two bronze, ahead of Korea (one gold, one silver) and France (one gold).
A highly successful showpiece competition served as the perfect prelude to the two-day New Pentathlon Discipline Test Event (June 27-28), where the proposed Obstacle Discipline will be tested by Modern Pentathlon and Obstacle athletes for the first time.
Immediately Japan (Uchida/Sato) served a statement of intent by scoring highest on horseback, only incurring five time penalties after a double clear.
Poland (Dominiak/Lawrynowicz) were only two points behind after picking up just one obstacle penalty, while Brazil (Isabela Abreu & Danilo Fagundes) scored a very competitive 290. There was only one elimination but it was a very significant one as Korea (Changwan Seo & Sunwoo Kim) saw their medal hopes fade.
The top performers on the piste were Mexico (Arceo/Carrillo), with 26V/10D, but two nations were only one victory behind – Japan (Uchida/Sato) and Egypt (Abdelmaksoud/Hamad).
Hungary (Gulyas/Szep) added six much-needed points in the Bonus Round before Mexico (Arceo/Carrillo) took out the final bout for a helpful four-point top-up.
Once again Japan (Uchida/Sato) stood out, unleashing the only sub-2min swim of the day. Their time of 1:58.90 gave them a three-point uplift over next-fastest Egypt (Abdelmaksoud/Hamad; 2:00.21), with Hungary (Gulyas/Szep; 2:01.49) keeping distant pressure on the leaders, knowing their Laser Run prowess could keep them in the hunt for gold.
Starting in 2nd place but 20sec adrift, Arceo (MEX) made an early gain on leader Uchida (JPN), who had caught the eye with 4th place in the Women’s Final, but more significant to the final outcome was the speed and urgency of Gulyas (HUN) in moving past Dominiak (POL) and threatening Abdelmaksoud (EGY).
The second lap was tight between Arceo (MEX), Abdelmaksoud (EGY) and Gulyas (HUN), and it was Abdelmaksoud (EGY) whose rapid shoot enabled her to move into the silver-medal position. In the final seconds of the women’s leg, individual bronze medallist Gulyas (HUN) sprinted past Arceo (MEX) to give Szep (HUN) every chance.
Szep (HUN) quickly moved up the shoulder of Hamad (EGY) and after moving past him halfway through the first of his three runs, started to target the man in possession of gold. His first shoot (7sec) was exceptional and his second (11sec) was 7sec better than Sato (JPN) could manage, and this was the decisive moment when Hungary turned silver into gold.
Sato (JPN) ran furiously on the last lap, but all he could do was maintain the status quo, with Hamad (EGY) and Carrillo (MEX) providing no threat and allowing Lawrynowicz (POL) to catch them on the penultimate shoot for a straight run to the podium.
Gold medallist Gulyas (HUN) said: “We are very happy, we are a very good team and we helped each other out. We train together back home, so it’s nice to win a medal together.
“We were tired because we were doing Semi-finals, Finals and then today without a rest day, but I think we are in good shape and we saw good competition with others, so it was good.”
Silver medallists Uchida & Sato (JPN) said they were “very happy” before delivering a message to their fans in Japanese.
Bronze medallist Dominiak (POL) said: “We are in shock, but our performance was really good and our shooting was incredible. Today we had a lucky day, we were lucky with horses and we only had seven penalties, and in Laser Run we rocked!
“It’s our first senior World Cup medal and this is my World Cup Final debut, so we are very happy and proud.”
Lawrynowicz (POL), when asked about his dramatic collapse at the finish line, said: “It was a very strong race, and I said ‘come on, come on, come on, finish!’”
UIPM President Dr Klaus Schormann said: “Today we had an exciting Mixed Relay with 11 teams to finish off the UIPM 2022 Pentathlon World Cup Final. The Mixed Relay provides a great opportunity for National Federations to build team spirit, and it’s always good to see a female and male athlete competing together and underlining how important it is to have gender balance in our sport.
“After the experience gained throughout the Pentathlon World Cup season, we saw an excellent level of skill from the athletes today, with winners from different countries and continents - we are very happy to see the Japanese team on the podium alongside African and American nations.
“Again, I thank the athletes and the organisers who ensured we would have an excellent World Cup Final here in Ankara.
“Tomorrow we are all looking forward to the practice session of the New 5th Discipline Test Event, where we will have Obstacle athletes who can demonstrate and escort and assist our pentathletes to help them learn about the Obstacle Discipline.
“On Tuesday we will have the competition, with various age categories, and this test will be the basis for other tests to follow. The evaluation will then form a presentation for the IOC Sport Department, Programme Commission and Executive Board to confirm what is needed to make Modern Pentathlon as strong as possible for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games and into the future.
“I’m very excited and thrilled about this first Test Event and I wish all the athletes fun and a great experience.
“I also wish all athletes the very best for the rest of the season and we are looking forward to the World Championships in the last week of July in Alexandria.”
Watch and follow
The best athletes in the world will return for the UIPM 2022 Pentathlon World Championships in Alexandria (EGY) from July 24-31.
PARISI Giuseppe Mattia