UIPM 2023 Southeast Asia Championships: Beaches of Pattaya (THA) host biggest-ever Asian event
The sun-kissed sands of Pattaya, Thailand became a hive of activity as the UIPM 2023 Southeast Asian Championships raised the bar as the biggest edition of the competition to date.
The three-day event lit up one of the most beloved tourist destinations in Asia from May 19-21, with Pattaya hosting over 80 athletes from 15 competing nations – a record for an Asian Modern Pentathlon Confederation (AMPC) competition.
Having stepped in as a replacement host venue for the 2023 UIPM Southeast Asian Championships, originally planned for Cambodia, the event in Pattaya (THA) was initially open only to Southeast Asian member federations.
However, with many other Asian nations expressing interest in competing, UIPM, AMPC and the organisers from the Modern Pentathlon Association of Thailand (MPAT) agreed it was a unique opportunity to welcome nations and athletes from across the region. The expanded competition provided both a great test for established competitors and a fertile learning ground and building experience for newer nations.
Among the 15 competing countries were five SEA members (Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia), seven non-SEA members (Japan, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon) and three non-AMPC members (Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos).
Asia has seen a consistent area of growth in UIPM sports development and it is hoped that those three non-AMPC members could join the confederation as fully-fledged members in the near future.
The 33 female and 48 male entrants competed in both Laser Run and Triathle events on the beaches of Pattaya and the standard of competition was impressively high.
There was a triumph to savour for the host nation when Chua-In Khemjira of Thailand took gold in the Women’s Triathle Final, with Joseph Godbout of the Philippines winning the Men’s Triathle Final. There were two further golds for the Philippines when Samuel German (PHI) took Men’s Laser Run gold and Juliana Savilla (PHI) won the Women’s Laser Run final.
UIPM President Dr. Klaus Schormann, who attended the event, said: “This has been a truly great week for our sport in Asia. We have seen what is indeed one of the best competitions that the confederation has held in terms of both the performance of the athletes from a record number of nations and the brilliant organisation by the Modern Pentathlon Association of Thailand (MPAT), led by President Admiral Srivardhana and his team.
“Everything from the equipment, the commentators and big screen on the beach for fans and viewers, the entertainments before the awards and well-decorated venue and a competition which was always kept on time by the minute, it was so impressive.
“I want to pay tribute to the AMPC for all of their work in making this Southeast Asian Championships such a success, also to the organisers, the judges and volunteers and of course the coaches and athletes too. The growth of UIPM sports in Asia has continued to be strong and this event is another sign of that.”
AMPC President Mr Hyunjun Kim (KOR) said: “Together with MPAT, we are so happy to have been able to set this stage for all of our athletes who are the pillar of our sport in the future.
“The UIPM 2023 Southeast Asia Championships saw 15 members taking part, which is the biggest number in the history of Asia. This event can become part of the AMPC’s legacy and will also serve to be a foothold for future development, not only in this area but also all around Asia.
“I want to thank MPAT and President Admiral Srivardhana for their efforts and also thank UIPM President Dr Klaus Schormann for his support and attendance here in Thailand this week.”