UIPM 2023 Pentathlon World Championships: Mixed Relay; HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco visit; Riding Working Group update
- Imperious Egypt (Abdelmaksoud/Shaban) claim fourth gold medal in Bath (GBR)
- Riding Working Group ends meeting with four resolutions ahead of Paris 2024
- ‘The future is very bright for Modern Pentathlon,’ declares visiting HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco
Salma Abdelmaksoud and Mohanad Shaban combined to devastating effect to earn Egypt a fourth gold medal as the curtain came down on a truly memorable UIPM 2023 Pentathlon and Laser Run World Championships.
The brilliant victors led the Mixed Relay from start to finish in spite of the diligent efforts of Sunwoo Kim and Woongtae Jun, who claimed an impressive silver medal for Korea. A week of exhilarating competition in the historic spa city had one last showdown when Czech Republic (Lucie Hlavackova & Marek Grycz) held on in a gripping battle for bronze with Türkiye (Ilke Ozyuksel & Bugra Unal).
Host nation Great Britain (Kerenza Byrson & Myles Pillage) were cheered home in 5th and Poland (Anna Maliszewska & Lukasz Gutkowski) finished 6th of the record 21 nations competing.
Gold gave Shaban a haul of three medals for the week, having claimed Men’s Individual bronze and Team gold on Super Sunday. The result meant that Egypt finished top of the Pentathlon World Championships medal table with four golds and a bronze, clear of Italy (two gold, two silver) and Great Britain (one gold, two silver, one bronze). Countries from four continents took home medals.
Gold medallist Shaban (EGY) said: “Today was a very good day because we began the day by winning the Fencing, then in the Riding we had the first clear round in the competition. In the Swimming I think we were in the top two or better. In the Laser Run we shot well and the Running was not too hard. That’s a good day.
“I am so happy because it is my third medal of the competition at senior level. I am still young today and have more years coming. I took gold, gold and bronze medals and I am now second in the world ranking, which feels very good to me. I hope to continue this to the Olympic Games.”
Team-mate Abdelmaksoud (EGY) said: “I am very happy and looking forward to the next challenges. In the future I feel like we can have better and better results. It’s a very good feeling to be world champion. I hope that in the individual competition next time, I can do better and have a big result.”
Silver medallist Kim (KOR) said: “The last few years with my Mixed Relay partner have been very good. Today is a silver medal and I am so happy. Fencing put us in a good position. Riding was a little nervous but the Swimming and Laser Run were very good, which makes us happy.”
Team-mate Jun (KOR) added: “Firstly, I am very happy today. The University of Bath has been a very nice place for the competition. I thank my partner so much.
“We have one more international competition now because in a few weeks is the Asian Games, it’s a very important competition for Korea. It’s important to have a good competition so we can look forward to next year.”
Bronze medallist Grycz (CZE) said: “For me it means a lot because this is my first senior medal in all World Cup, World Championships, Europeans. Even though I am 25, almost 26, this is my first time to get a medal and I’m really happy for that.
“I felt pretty strong because I had a day’s rest. I felt the pressure as the senior one in the team, but I did it and that’s all that matters.”
Team-mate Hlavackova (CZE) added: “This is my first time competing in the senior category. I really didn’t dream I would be leaving with a medal. It’s a great way to end the season.
“I dreamed the whole season to do the Mixed Relay because it’s a fun competition and with Marek it was amazing today. The medal is a great cherry on top.”
UIPM Honorary President HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco is greeted by UIPM President Dr Klaus Schormann in Bath (GBR)
UIPM Honorary President, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, who attended the competition, said: “It feels great to be back at the UIPM Pentathlon World Championships, especially here at the University of Bath at this incredible sports complex.
“It’s wonderful to see the enthusiasm and the very knowledgeable crowd here, and it’s great to see the athletes go all out to try to secure a place at next year’s Olympic Games Paris 2024.
“It should be an incredible setting for Modern Pentathlon at the Palace de Versailles. Quite unique, and I think it will be a great showcase for our sport of Modern Pentathlon but also for the values it carries. And beyond that, I think the future is very bright for Modern Pentathlon.
“There are changes that are being brought in that makes it, I think, a very exciting prospect. I’m absolutely sure. I have tried to be as supportive as possible about these changes and I really think we are facing a very exciting future, a very exciting way forward.”
Members of the UIPM Executive Board are joined in Bath (GBR) by UIPM Pierre de Coubertin Commission Member Alexandra Navacelle de Coubertin (back row, third left), ASOIF President Francesco Ricci Bitti (front row, 7th from left), UIPM Honorary President HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco (front row, 7th from right) and IOC Honorary Member Eng Gumel Ahmed
UIPM President, Dr Klaus Schormann, said: “We just finished the combined UIPM 2023 Pentathlon and Laser Run World Championships here in the wonderful complex at the University of Bath. We are very happy that the field of play was well prepared and everything was provided to give the athletes fair conditions.
“I am grateful to all the referees and volunteers who helped to make this competition so very successful in the year before the Olympic Games Paris 2024.
“Thanks to the National Federations and to the sponsors and suppliers and all who were involved in this fantastic competition.
“We had the biggest number of nations, more than 50, which is a record for our World Championships, and it was great to see how the athletes focused on Paris 2024.
“Another big highlight was the visit of our Honorary President, IOC Member and President of the State of Monaco, Prince Albert II, to the Finals and we could see how much he enjoyed the competition and the efforts of the athletes.
“We also welcomed the President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations, Francesco Ricci Bitti, with whom we had many discussions about the integration of Obstacle as a new discipline in Modern Pentathlon – and this has been welcomed by all sides.
“All of our international guests and sponsors who came here have enjoyed the atmosphere and the glory of this World Championships. It was great for the organising nation to have the Men’s Individual gold medallist on top of the podium, among other medals won by Great Britain.
“Finally today we had 21 nations in the Mixed Relay, which is another record, and it shows the popularity of this event and we are still discussing if it could be included in the Olympic Games in future, based on the direction we are going.”
With such a talented tandem of fencers representing Egypt (Abdelmaksoud/Shaban), the rest of the contenders would have been hoping to keep them within their sights for as long as possible. However, the African powerhouse cemented their position by recording the only perfect Riding score of 300 points.
Korea (Kim/Jun) did their best to stay close with an impressive 291 points, while Kazakhstan (Lyudmila Yakovleva & Pavel Ilyashenko) were equally solid on horseback with the third-highest score of 286 points.
The Fencing Ranking Round set the tone for much of what was to come as Egypt (Abdelmaksoud/Shaban) dominated with 28 victories. For good measure they added another four points to their tally in the Fencing Bonus Round to extend their overall lead.
Korea (Kim/Jun) notched 27 victories while there was a three-way tie for third with Great Britain (Bryson/Pillage), Spain (Laura Heredia & Aleix Heredia Vives) and United States (Jessica Davis & Brendan Anderson) each achieving 25 victories. Great Britain (Bryson/Pillage) added six points in a productive bonus round with Hungary (Sarolta Simon & Balazs Szep) moving up the leaderboard thanks to 10 bonus points.
With Egypt now building up a significant gap, the pool offered Korea (Kim/Jun) the chance to get closer to the leaders ahead of the Laser Run. However, Abdelmaksoud and Shaban (EGY) remained focused and clocked the day’s fastest time with a rapid 1:56.70. Kim and Jun (KOR) weren’t too far behind in 1:56.92.
The Swimming prowess of Pillage (GBR) enabled the host nation a chance to move up the standings and he duly delivered, turning a 4sec deficit at the changeover to win the second heat in 1:57.54. Ukraine (Olha Klunnikova & Oleksandr Tovkai) also looked sharp in 1:57.27.
Korea (Kim/Jun) may have held out some hope of challenging for gold but Egypt (Abdelmaksoud/Shaban) had a 17sec lead and were coming off the back of a weekend of stellar Laser Run performances by their team.
While the rest of the field were a distant 39sec behind the Koreans, the battle for bronze was very much alive as just 16sec separated Czech Republic (Hlavackova/Grycz) in 3rd place and China (Shuai Luo & Linzhi Xie) in 9th.
It would have taken some serious misfortune for Egypt (Abdelmaksoud/Shaban) to be knocked off the top spot but there was no signs of any errors. Abdelmaksoud (EGY) could even afford a slow second shoot and still hand over with plenty of breathing room.
The race for bronze tightened up when Ozyuksel (TUR) came within striking distance at the changeover. Bryson (GBR) tried to dig in and pull the hosts into medal contention but her efforts in claiming Women’s individual bronze the previous day looked to be taking their toll, leaving the fight for bronze down to Czech Republic (Hlavackova/Grycz) and Türkiye (Ozyuksel/Unal).
Further down, Poland (Maliszewska/Gutkowski) were motoring through the field with a brilliant display of running and shooting.
Enjoying a commanding lead, Shaban (EGY) had the luxury of tapering things down as he cantered across the finish line to celebrate gold with Korea (Kim/Jun) following and Czech Republic (Hlavackova/Grycz) impressively holding off Türkiye (Ozyuksel/Unal) by 10sec. Great Britain (Bryson/Pillage) were cheered home in 5th ahead of Poland (Maliszewska/Gutkowski), who notched the day’s fastest Laser Run time in 12:04.20.
Riding Working Group update
The Riding Working Group formed by UIPM after the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games met in Bath (GBR) this morning, with the following resolutions:
- The Working Group acknowledged the improvement in athlete safety and animal welfare in UIPM competitions but recognised there is room for further progress.
- The Working Group is committed to the continued monitoring of athletes’ Riding abilities in the build-up to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
- The Working Group discussed numerous initiatives, which will be defined and communicated in due course to support the overall aim of continued improvement in the Riding discipline.
- UIPM will continue to work closely with local organisers to ensure high standards at competitions and continue to encourage National Federations to promote the initiatives presented by UIPM in collaboration with the Riding Working Group.
Watch and follow
The next competition on the calendar is the UIPM 2023 Junior World Championships, taking place in Druskininkai (LTU) from September 12-17. The action can be watched live on UIPM TV, where annual subscriptions cost €14.99. All results are available on the UIPM website and via the UIPM Central app.