UIPM 2023 Pentathlon Junior World Championships: Egypt and France open with relay success
Egypt and France continued their dominance of under-age Modern Pentathlon on the opening day of the UIPM 2023 Pentathlon Junior World Championships in Druskininkai (LTU).
Having topped the U17 medal table with four gold medals and added two U19 world titles, the sport’s African powerhouse struck first with starlets Malak Ismail (EGY) and Farida Khalil (EGY) proving unassailable in the Women’s Relay.
Having each become individual world champion at U19 and U17 level respectively, the young duo had too much for the rest of the field as Lili Basa and Dorka Sara Toth of Hungary won a comfortable silver medal. Local spectators were delighted to see Giedre Gudelyte-Gudeleviciute and Teja Pakinkyte of Lithuania hang on to win bronze.
A standout time of 1min 49.10sec in Obstacle enabled Egypt (Ismail/Farid) to move into the overall lead after Poland (Ewa Pydyszewska & Adrianna Kapala) had won the Fencing discipline with 31V/13D and four bonus points.
The Swimming standings were topped by Italy (Valentina Martinescu & Giorgia Agazzotti) and the best Laser Run time of the day came from France (Cazaly Louison & Audrey Tchirikhtchian), narrowly ahead of overall 4th-placed Korea (Haeun Cho & Jiho Shin).
In the afternoon, the French kept the feelgood factor of the U19 World Championships (where they topped the medal table) intact with another victory thanks to Mathis Rochat (FRA) and Emilien Maire (FRA).
This time there was considerable drama throughout the day and Maire (FRA) prevailed in a thrilling sprint finish with Roman Popov of Ukraine, who took silver alongside Vladyslav Chekan. Bronze went to Luca Gioia and Giorgio Micheli of Italy.
Ukraine (Chekan/Popov) took a healthy lead in Fencing with 23V/9D and four bonus points, but Obstacle provide a turning point as three teams went under 1:15 to motor up the leaderboard – France (Rochat/Maire) quickest in 1:04.48 ahead of Lithuania (Paulius Vagnorius & Jonas Kalaminskas) and Poland (Lukasz Zawada & Maciej Klimek).
France (Rochat/Maire) also won Swimming in 1:49.68, with Chinese Taipei (Yi Hu & Hsiang Hu) less than 1sec behind, giving themselves a 13sec overall lead over Ukraine heading into a Laser Run that provided plenty of drama and almost a shock on the finish line.
Women’s Relay gold medallist Ismail (EGY) said: “I feel very happy about this race. After Obstacle and Swimming I think we were 2min ahead of second place so it was really amazing, we didn’t have to run fast, just shoot well and prepare for tomorrow’s Individual qualification. It was very nice to jog around the arena.
“Obstacle was great, we were the only team to get over 200 points. I was a little bit afraid of it but I managed to do it very well and I’m proud of myself for doing that. I want to thank all my family and friends and everyone who supported me. My goal for 2024 is the Olympic Games because I qualified from the African Championships and I hope to go there and do well there.
Team-mate Khalil (EGY) added: “I’m very happy about the race, it’s my first Junior World Championships and I’m only 12 years old. I want to thank my mother and father and my coaches.”
Men’s Relay gold medallist Rochat (FRA) said: “It’s wonderful, because I’ve never won a medal like this in a World Championships and I’m so happy. We are lucky because we had a really good trainer in Perpignan, and he taught us so much. Thanks to him we managed to do a good Obstacle race.
“Now we aim for the best results in the Individual competition, and then next year I will be senior. I don’t think I have a chance to go to the Olympic Games [in 2024] but I will train as much as I can in Obstacle so that next season I will be ready.
“Thanks to my parents and to all of our physiotherapists and coaches who helped us during the year in the training camps.”
Partner Maire (FRA) added: “First win in a World Championships and what a win, because we started a little bit badly in Fencing, but after that we did a great job in all the other sports. We are so, so grateful and happy.
“It was fun to do the new Obstacle race, because it was more difficult than the others. It can make a real difference.
“Next season I will still be Under 22 so I will focus on that and try to do some senior competitions to get as much experience as I can.
“I would like to thank my family but also all the athletes here. There is a lot of sportsmanship between all of us, we high-five before every event and it’s nice to compete because of the atmosphere.”
Watch and follow
The UIPM 2023 Pentathlon Junior World Championships runs from September 12-17, continuing on Wednesday, September 13 with the Women’s Qualification.
The Women’s and Men’s Finals on September 16 and Mixed Relay on September 17 can be watched live on UIPM TV where annual subscriptions cost €14.99. This is the first time a Modern Pentathlon competition with the integrated Obstacle discipline will be broadcast live.
UIPM 2023 Pentathlon Junior World Championships
(Live UIPM.TV start times in Central European Summer Time)
September 13: Women’s Qualification
September 14: Men’s Qualification
September 15: Women’s and Men’s Fencing Ranking Round
September 16: Women’s Final (9am); Men’s Final (1.45pm)
September 17: Mixed Relay (12.45pm)