UIPM 2023 Pentathlon World Cup Final: Korea (Kim/Jun) make a splash to win Mixed Relay
- Korea top 2023 season medal table after mastering rainy conditions in Ankara (TUR)
- Castaudi and Patte team up to deliver stylish silver for France
- Bauer and Szep come from behind to earn bronze for Hungary
Sunwoo Kim and Woongtae Jun of Korea turned on the style between the showers to win the Mixed Relay at the UIPM 2023 Pentathlon World Cup Final.
Winning Korea’s third gold medal of the Pentathlon World Cup season, Kim and Jun were unassailable all day, coming out on top in Fencing and Swimming to start the Laser Run more than half a minute ahead of the chasing pack.
It was another day of disruption and slippery surfaces caused by heavy rain, but there were resolute performances from across a multi-continental field.
Rebecca Castaudi and Christopher Patte of France moved ahead of 2nd-placed starters Amira Kandil and Eslam Hamad of Egypt to claim silver, while there was an even bigger comeback from Blanka Bauer and Balazs Szep of Hungary as they won bronze despite having ranked last in Fencing.
Korea’s success meant that they narrowly defeated Egypt to finish the UIPM 2023 Pentathlon World Cup season on top of the medal table. Both nations managed three golds but Korea also managed two silvers to Egypt’s one. With three bronzes, Egypt won the most medals overall, while Hungary finished 3rd in the table with two golds, two silvers and a bronze.
Success for Kim (KOR) followed her victory in the Mixed Relay alongside Changwan Seo (KOR) in UIPM 2023 Pentathlon World Cup Budapest, where Jun (KOR) was the individual men’s champion.
Gold medallist Jun (KOR) said: “Yesterday didn’t go so well for me but today was a different competition and I was very focused. The ground conditions were a little bit bad and we had to be careful on the running course.
“Today I did the Mixed Relay with Sunwoo and we are the gold medallists again – and we are very happy.”
Partner Kim (KOR) added: “For me the individual competition was so sad, but it’s great to win gold in the Mixed Relay with Woongtae again – I’m so happy.”
Silver medallist Patte (FRA) said: “I’m very happy today because we found hard conditions in Ankara, but I knew that with good Fencing and Shooting we could reach the podium.”
Bronze medallist Szep (HUN) said: “We are very happy, because we had the only clear round in Riding and that was very good for us. In the Laser Run, Blanka and me are good runners and shooters, so it was a good day.”
Knowing that conditions had been challenging all week, it was admirable that Hungary (Bauer/Szep) were able to register a blemish-free round and emerge unscathed with 300 points that kept them in the mix for medals.
Riding last, Korea (Kim/Jun) also looked unflappable with only one knockdown, same as France (Castaudi/Patte). All eyes were on Tokyo 2020 Olympic champion Joseph Choong of Great Britain after his unfortunate slip on the final straight of Laser Run the night before, but his weekend didn’t get any better as his horse struck an obstacle and fell, sending Choong (GBR) tumbling forwards.
Both rider and horse were shaken but they were able to walk off the course within a few minutes, albeit it was the end of the competition for Choong and Olivia Green (GBR), eliminated along with Mariia Shtukina and Vasilii Lukianov of Kyrgyzstan.
Korea (Kim/Jun) put themselves on course for victory with an excellent Fencing Ranking Round performance, winning 29V/11D to build a 21-point buffer over Mariana Arceo and Manuel Padilla of Mexico and Egypt (Kandil/Hamad), who managed 26 victories apiece.
Kim (KOR) herself managed a remarkable tally of 16 successes, and she added one more in the Bonus Round, halting the run of Castaudi (FRA), but Patte (FRA) defeated Jun (KOR) to take the French tally to 10 bonus points and move into 2nd place overall, 21 points behind Korea (Kim/Jun).
Once again it was Korea (Kim/Jun) who showed their multi-disciplinary mastery, with a fastest swim of 2min 00.39sec. Competition was fierce, though, and the Poland duo of Natalia Dominiak and Lukasz Gutkowski also went under 2:01, just ahead of Egypt (Kandil/Hamad) in 2:01.41.
It meant that Korea (Kim/Jun) would start the Laser Run with a huge 31sec advantage over Egypt (Kandil/Hamad), with France (Castaudi/Patte) a further 13sec behind and Mexico (Arceo/Padilla) hot on their heels.
Kim (KOR) showed no sign of nerves as she completed her two laps and shot with a high level of accuracy, leaving all the intrigue behind her and handing Jun (KOR) one of the easiest victory laps of his career.
Initially the hard-running Arceo (MEX) was the biggest mover, but she faltered on both visits to the shooting range and it was Castaudi (FRA) who seized the moment, with two rapid shoots taking her into 2nd place ahead of Kandil (EGY), who came back well on the final lap to allow Hamad (EGY) to start only 2sec behind Patte (FRA).
The first men’s lap saw Patte (FRA) gain a few seconds and he gained a lot more at the first shoot, moving into a decisive silver position as Hamad (EGY) took almost 20sec to get away, enabling Szep (HUN) to move into the medal equation.
It was the same story at the final shoot as Szep (HUN) finished his World Cup season on a high with a bronze, teaming up with Bauer (HUN) for the fastest Laser Run time of the day (12:40.81).
UIPM President Dr Klaus Schormann said: “In the Mixed Relay today we saw many top athletes and high-quality teams, including the Olympic champion – although he was unlucky during his Riding. We could see that the weather was not playing with us but the athletes were very strong and tough and motivated to get good results.
“The Mixed Relay is a competition for a team, and the athletes really like to compete in this team spirit. Again this was underlined today, and we could see teams from three continents competing for the podium – I congratulate Korea for another excellent victory.
“The standard was high because nations must qualify for the World Cup Final in the Mixed Relay, and we look forward to more exciting Mixed Relays in the continental championships and the World Championships in Bath.
“Today was another highlight, and I have to say thanks to the organising committee for preparing in difficult weather conditions a very good and fair competition. Thanks to the volunteers and sponsors and all who supported this competition – and never forget the media who have also worked closely with us.
“When I was an athlete, along with some other UIPM Executive Board Members, we were used to running in difficult and often wet conditions, so for us this was normal. Today’s athletes are used to very clean ground, so they had to adapt this weekend and we are all very happy that there were not too many falls and nothing bad happened.
“We will be back in Türkiye in July for the UIPM U19 World Championship with Obstacles included for the first time, and it’s a big challenge for our movement based on the decision made at UIPM 2022 Congress.
“It’s another step forward for the future, and we look forward to working with the organising team in the mega-city of Istanbul where they are bidding for the Olympic Games in 2036. Modern Pentathlon and the Olympic movement in Türkiye is very dynamic and I am also thankful to the IOC Member and NOC President Dr Erdener, who is a great supporter of our sport.”
Watch and follow
The UIPM 2023 Pentathlon World Cup Final has now concluded and all results can be found at the UIPM website and via the UIPM Central app.
The rest of the UIPM 2023 competition calendar, including the showpiece UIPM 2023 Pentathlon and Laser Run World Championships in Bath (GBR), can be viewed here.
DOGUE Marvin Faly