UIPM 2023 Pentathon World Cup Sofia: Bryson and Brown (GBR) seal superb Mixed Relay triumph
- Great Britain (Bryson/Brown) seal second gold of weekend with dominant win
- Oliver and Hernandez lock up yet another medal for prolific Mexico team
- Bronze for France (Gomesse/Mourcia) in a repeat of Budapest success
Kerenza Bryson and Charles Brown proved an instant hit as their first time teaming up secured a dominant Mixed Relay gold for Great Britain on the final day of UIPM 2023 Pentathlon World Cup Sofia.
After some scintillating displays all week in the Bulgarian capital there was still time for more as the Relay saw a host of talented teams vie for silver and bronze. Great Britain (Bryson/Brown) were rarely threatened as Bryson (GBR) added a second gold in the space of 24 hours, having won her first Women’s Final on Super Saturday while Sunday’s triumph marked a first gold for Brown (GBR).
A stunning Laser Run performance by Mexico (Catherine Mayran Oliver & Emiliano Hernandez) continued a remarkable run for the country who have now medalled at every stop of the UIPM World Cup season. Behind them Jessye Gomesse and Jean-Baptiste Mourcia secured back-to-back bronze medals for France after they’d also finished third in Budapest last month.
On a colder afternoon in Sofia, it was a hotly contested podium throughout the day and Germany (Rebecca Langrehr & Pele Uibel) narrowly missed out on a medal as they finished fourth with China (Lishan Zheng & Shuhuan Li) in fifth and Czech Republic (Veronika Novotna & Matous Tuma) sixth.
Gold medalist Bryson (GBR) said: “It couldn’t be better. I’m really pleased. It was great that Charlie could fly out just for the Relay so we had fresh legs, compared to me, who did not! It’s been a great day, I really enjoyed it. We hadn’t done a Relay together yet and it was fun. I think we will have this team again. I don’t think we’d had a medal yet this season so for us to get one is lovely.” Teammate Brown (GBR) added: "I’ve really enjoyed today. It’s great to have this competition for my experience and to have fun with Kerenza, it’s been really fun. We’ve got to know each other a bit better.”
Silver medalist Hernandez (MEX) said: “I love Bulgaria. It’s always good to me. I hope next year, an Olympic year, it’s good to me in individual. We had an amazing relay and I’m really happy. We are working so hard. Next up is the World Cup Final and we will work hard there to get gold!”
Bronze medalist Gomesse (FRA) said: “We are very, very happy because it was a great competition for us. We had a very good start to the day with Fencing. We rode well and the swimming was very good. For me the running was a little difficult but the shooting was very good.” Her teammate Mourcia (FRA) said: “For me it’s a second teammate and a second bronze medal. I’m very happy for that. It was a great competition, honestly. It’s not perfect. We can do better I think, to try to take gold and silver but we’re happy.”
A chilly and damp Sunday afternoon in Sofia made for tricky conditions as the action got underway but the competitors made light of it with some really impressive displays in the Riding round. Three of the teams put up perfect rounds including a historic first when Phaelen French and Tyler Evans of USA racked up a maximum 300 points for the first time.
Great Britain (Bryson/Brown) and China (Zheng/Li) were the others to put in faultless rounds to stretch ahead at the top of the leaderboard but with France (Gomesse/Mourcia), Germany (Langrehr/Uibel) and Czech Republic (Novotna/Tuma) all scoring north of 290, things remained tight among the leading contenders.
With standards so high, Japan (Hana Shibata & Kaoru Shinoki) were the only team to find misfortune when they were eliminated due to too many refusals.
While Great Britain (Bryson/Brown) and Mexico (Oliver/Hernandez) excelled in the Fencing Ranking Round with 24 Victories and 23 Victories respectively to put themselves out in front, they had others quickly on their heels.
France (Gomesse/Mourcia), who had scored 21 Victories in the Ranking Round, added four points in the Fencing Bonus Round with Mourcia in formidable form on the piste. An enthralling final fence between Mourcia (FRA) and Brown (GBR) saw Brown pull off an incredible foot touch to stop the French adding to their tally.
The young team from Bulgaria (Emil Grozdanov & Ralitsa Miteva) gave home fans plenty to cheer in the Bonus Round as they were top performers, racking up six extra points.
Japan put their disappointment from the Riding round firmly behind them as they blazed to the fastest swimming time of not just the Mixed Relay but of the entire week as they became the only team to break the two-minute barrier in a time of 1:58.61.
Germany (Langrehr/Uibel) were the fastest of the medal contenders to moved up the leaderboard after clocking 2:02.67 in the pool with China (Zheng/Li) closed behind in 2:04.12. However leaders Great Britain (Bryson/Brown) ensured their advantage wasn’t eaten into as they finished in a time of 2:04.45.
Chasing her second gold medal of the weekend, it was Bryson who set off for Great Britain (Bryson/Brown) with a formidable 22-second advantage over China (Zheng/Li) and France (Gomesse/Mourcia) a further five seconds behind.
Mexico (Oliver/Hernandez), having enjoyed much Relay success this term, had a 35-second gap to make up on the leaders. Behind them Germany (Langrehr/Uibel) and Czech Republic had the pedigree to threaten too
Ultimately it felt like it would require a slip-up on the range for Great Britain (Bryson/Brown) to lose their spot at the head of the field. Bryson (GBR) shot superbly on both visits to the range to ensure that the chasing back remained at a safe distance. But behind her Oliver (MEX) put in a brilliant run and shoot to move Mexico into silver medal position with the experience of Langrehr (GER) shining through to bring Germany into podium contention too with the order shuffling significantly.
At the changeover it was now France (Gomesse/Mourcia) and China (Zheng/Li) who had ground to make up to clinch a medal, in fourth and fifth respectively.
While Brown (GBR) dug in and shot well, behind him a stunning 6.9-second first shoot from Hernandez (MEX) had chopped the lead to just 11 seconds. Suddenly the final shoot took on major tension for all three spots on the podium with Mourcia (FRA) having overtaken Uibel (GER).
Understandably, there was a hint of nerves from Brown (GBR) as he took 18 seconds to put up five green lights in the final shoot but with Hernandez (MEX) unable to replicate his brilliant first shoot, Brown (GBR) raced off to the first gold of his senior career.
Hernandez (MEX) secured yet another medal for Mexico (Oliver/Hernandez) in second with France (Gomesse/Mourcia) in third, Germany (Langrehr/Uibel) fourth ahead of China (Zheng/Li) and the Czech Republic (Novotna/Tuma) sixth.
UIPM Executive Board member and Chair of the UIPM Coaches Committee Christian Roudaut said: “Here in Sofia, it was a very good Mixed Relay with the British team who took the lead in the morning and kept it until the final. But we saw a particularly great fight for the second and third places. For all these young athletes it was a very good competition.
“I want to again thank all of the organisers, volunteers and judges for putting on such a well-run competition this week. I congratulate all of the athletes and their coaches too.
“Sofia marked the fourth UIPM Pentathlon World Cup of the season. It was the last World Cup before we start our Olympic qualification process and now the UIPM World Cup Final in Ankara will begin that process. It will be a very important week for all of our athletes in Turkey with one male and one female athlete securing the first places at the Paris Olympic Games.”
Watch and follow
UIPM 2023 Pentathlon World Cup Sofia has now concluded but video highlights can be viewed at UIPM.TV and results can be found at the UIPM website and via the UIPM Central app.
The next competition on the calendar is UIPM 2023 Pentathlon World Cup Final, taking place in Ankara (TUR) the capital city of Türkiye from May 31 to June 4.
|2||OLIVER Catherine Mayran