UIPM 2023 U17 World Championships: Great Britain finish on a high with Mixed Relay gold
- Johnson & Forrest secure comfortable victory on final day in Alexandria (EGY)
- Khalil (EGY) adds fourth medal with silver as host nation tops medal table
- Bronze for Hungary as Youth athletes savour full Pentathlon experience
ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT: July 16, 2023 – Great Britain came out on top among 14 nations with a convincing Mixed Relay gold on the final day of the UIPM 2023 U17 World Championships.
Host nation Egypt finished clearly top of the medal table with seven medals including four golds, but a commanding dual performance by Chloe Johnson and Sebastian Forrest ensured the British team did not go home empty-handed.
Having won Women’s Individual and Team gold a day before, and Women’s Relay silver earlier in the week, Farida Khalil (EGY) completed a prolific week with a remarkable podium ‘slam’ – two gold and two silver medals as she signed off with a Mixed Relay silver alongside Omar Amer (EGY).
There was also a second bronze medal of the championships for Hungary, thanks to Linda Haraszin and Marcell Hugo Gyurka holding off the challenge of Czech Republic (Jakub Samiec & Alexandra Fernandes) as the world’s leading U17s became the first in history to compete for world titles in a full, five-discipline Pentathlon.
Great Britain (Johnson/Forrest) stood out in Fencing with a Ranking Round haul of 22 victories, three more than Hungary (Haraszin/Gyurka), and they added the four available bonus points.
Alessia Canto and Ascione Francesco of Italy proved fastest on the Obstacle course with a combined time of 1min 02.40sec, while Egypt (Khalil/Amer) also looked sharp with 1:04.98, a fraction of a second quicker than Great Britain (Johnson/Forrest).
Poland clearly set the standard in Swimming with 1:56.54 from Hanna Jakubowska and Bartosz Szmytke. The best Laser Run performance was from Czech Republic (Fernandes/Samiec) as they posted a time of 9:12.75 to fall just short of the podium.
Gold medallist Johnson (GBR) said: “We felt nervous, in one word. In the shoots your hands shake and it’s scary. But we shot well.
“We started well this morning, had a really good Fencing Ranking Round and kept the energy really high. That got us off to a good start and tried to carry that through to the end of the day.”
Team-mate Forrest (GBR) added: “I was quite nervous that [Amer, EGY] was going to catch me after my bad first shoot but I kept a good pace on the next run, had a good last shoot and just went from it from there.
“The Obstacle discipline was brilliant, we really like that. It’s more inclusive and more people are able to do it. It’s really fun!”
Silver medallist Amer (EGY) reflected: “It was so hard. We were looking for the gold medal but what we say afterwards is ‘thank god’. We will stay positive and thankful for the silver medal.
“The second shoot, I think my first three shots were not good but after that it was okay. Obstacle was good, so good. Swimming, Fencing … I love Modern Pentathlon.
“It was so beautiful to compete in front of our families here. I can’t describe this moment. It’s so beautiful, all of Egypt is happy for us now.”
Bronze medallist Haraszin (HUN) said: “I’m really happy because I think it’s a great achievement. I’m so glad and proud of my teammate. Fencing was really good, we were happy with it. Before the Obstacle I was so nervous but we did a great job.”
Team-mate Gyurka (HUN) added: “I was really worried because I messed up my first shoot. If I hadn’t have messed that up, it would have been a battle, you know. We had a 20-second lead because of Linda, she was really good. I would have felt terrible if we would have lost a medal because of that!”
UIPM / LOC reaction
UIPM Secretary General Shiny Fang commented: “This was the first time our UIPM U17 World Championships included a full Pentathlon including Fencing and the new Obstacle race on top of Swimming and Laser Run.
“It makes a huge difference in the requirement of athletes to reach a competitive level across all disciplines, but our athletes met this challenge successfully and with incredible versatility.
“Seeing so many young, smiling faces around the competition is extremely inspiring, it’s like seeing the future of the sport – dynamic, embracing and super exciting!
“We had some educational workshops during the World Championships attended by retired athletes and current coaches, where our young athletes shared their motivations and ambitions. Being future Olympians is one of their shared dreams and wishes, but through the sport they also want to make friends, experience challenges and do their best for their country.
“This desire is so absolutely pure, real and touching. Seeing their eyes, as the International Federation, we will try everything and put all our efforts behind their Olympic dreams, it is not only our responsibility but also a source of motivation for our whole community!”
Egyptian Modern Pentathlon Federation President and UIPM Vice President Sharif El Elerian added: “The past week was historic for both Egypt and UIPM as we proudly hosted the inaugural Youth World Championships featuring the newly introduced Obstacle discipline. The event was a resounding success and enabled us to showcase the sport of pentathlon in the best possible way.
“The Obstacle race has made a huge difference in Pentathlon. I think the youth are enjoying it very much, spectators are enjoying it very much and it will be a great success in the future.
“I know that not all participants have had adequate time to train on it yet, but I’m sure that within the coming few months and maybe by next year’s World Championships everybody will be totally ready for Obstacle.
“It was a fantastic competition and the weather was nice, maybe a little on the hot side, but everyone is happy, all the countries are happy – and this was important, we are one family and we are all enjoying the competition.
“The facility here at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport is one of the best I’ve ever seen in the world for Modern Pentathlon, where all the venues are within very close proximity and there is a big advantage in that the hotel is inside the Academy, so it’s walking distance.
“I’m glad we did this in Alexandria because the weather in Cairo is a little too hot now. Fantastic competition, fantastic choice from UIPM and I hope every year we will have a competition somewhere in Egypt that everyone can enjoy.”
Watch and follow
The UIPM 2023 U17 World Championships has now concluded but many of the participants will be joining older team-mates on the start line for the U19 World Championships in Istanbul (TUR) from July 25-30.
Visit the UIPM website or download “UIPM Central” from your app store for all competition results.
GYURKA Marcell Hugo