UIPM 2018 Pentathlon World Cup Cairo: Patte leads French one-two
A stunning start to the season by France continued as their athletes won gold and silver in an action-packed Men’s Individual Final at UIPM 2018 Pentathlon World Cup Cairo.
Christopher Patte stormed to gold and was closely followed by compatriot Valentin Belaud, who advanced rapidly in the Laser-Run to move up to the silver medal position, with Pavel Ilyashenko (Kazakhstan) taking bronze.
The one-two of Patte and Belaud (FRA) followed a dominant victory by Elodie Clouvel (FRA) in the Women’s Individual Finals on Friday to give France 50 per cent of the medals on offer in Cairo, with Sunday’s Mixed Relay to come.
Today’s victory marked a hugely satisfying return for Patte in his first competition for over a year. The 27-year-old’s steady nerve on the final shoot of the Laser-Run proved crucial as he denied victory to Belaud, the 2016 world champion.
Kirill Belyakov (Russia) had begun the Laser-Run 1st but was quickly overtaken by Ilyashenko (KAZ) and had to settle for 4th place. Yaraslau Radziuk (Belarus) and Pavlo Tymoshchenko (Ukraine) rounded out the top six.
Home competitor Sherif Rashad (Egypt) was not far behind in 7th on a day when his compatriot Eslam Hamad (EGY) dramatically lost his place at the top of the field when he crashed out of the Riding event.
Patte, winner of four previous World Cup medals, was overjoyed to add another gold to the French collection and stand on top of the World Cup podium for the first time.
“It’s my first time to finish first in the world,” he said. “That was my best competition today so I’m very happy. It’s my first competition coming back after one year. Training began in September and I am very ready.
“My fencing was very strong and my head was very strong all day. This year I want to go the World Championships with the France team and I want a medal."
The day didn’t begin so well for France with Patte and Belaud both outside the top 20 in the pool. Matteo Cicinelli (Italy) swam fastest in 2:02.34 with Vladislav Sukharev (KAZ) and Ahmed Elgendy (EGY) closest behind him.
In the Fencing hall, Ilyashenko (KAZ) began to move to the front of the pack with 22V/10D - a score matched by Hamad (EGY) and Pierpaolo Petroni (ITA). Eventual champion Patte (FRA) turned in an impressive round with 20V/14D.
The Bonus Round proved fruitful for Szymon Staskiewicz (Poland), who picked up three wins before his run was ended by Haslam (EGY), who was in turn beaten by Ilyashenko (KAZ) in the final bout.
The landscape of this Men’s Final dramatically changed when the competition switched to horseback. A total of seven athletes failed to score, with leader Hamad (EGY) suffering a dramatic fall and failing to continue within the time limit.
Only three competitors managed a clean round for the maximum score of 300 with Staskiewicz (POL) the fastest. The others to record perfect scores were Simon Casse (FRA) and Bugra Unal (TUR). Patte (FRA) just missed out on a maximum but his 299 points would prove crucial ahead of the deciding Laser-Run.
Belyakov (RUS) began with a very slim lead on the rest of the field but it wasn’t long before Ilyashenko (KAZ) began to reel him in.
In the early laps, the intent of France was evident not through Patte but Belaud, who burst out of the gates, sprinting from the off and moving rapidly through the field from his starting position of 12th. The 2016 world champion had forced his way into the top five by the end of the first lap with Staskiewicz (POL), who had begun the Laser-Run in third place, drifting back.
The France duo looked in amazing shape so early in the season and assumed control at the front of the field ahead of the last lap. However, the sharp eye of Patte (FRA) enabled him to dramatically overtake Belaud (FRA) and move clear of the field for what was ultimately a comfortable run to victory.
“It has been a good day of competition, it was the first event of the season, I have worked a lot for three months and I am proud to have heard Les Marseillaise tonight,” said Belaud (FRA).
“My ambitions for this season are to recover my World Championship title from the Moscow worlds in 2016 that I did not manage to recover during the 2017 edition here in Cairo. With this silver medal today I hope to have defeated the Egyptian curse and regain my title at the next world championships in Mexico in September.”
Janusz Peciak (POL), the 1976 Olympic champion and UIPM Executive Board Member for Sport, said: “Today we saw a Men's Final of very high quality with a number of athletes clearly very well prepared for the new Modern Pentathlon season.
“I congratulate the French team on another day of success after the gold medal won by Elodie Clouvel yesterday. Christopher Patte and Valentin Belaud are accustomed to being on the podium in UIPM Category A competitions and you could see their confidence during the Laser-Run.
“One again here in Cairo we have witnessed a day of drama and high-quality pentathlon across all five disciplines, and I know that tomorrow's Mixed Relay will be a fitting climax to Pentathlon World Cup Cairo.”