Friday,20 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1355, (3-9 August 2017)
Friday,20 July, 2018
Issue 1355, (3-9 August 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Most medals

Egypt triumphed at the 2017 Under-19 Modern Pentathlon World Championships, winning more medals than any other country, reports Inas Mazhar


Mohamed and Abdel-Maqsoud celebrate their gold medal at the finish line
Mohamed and Abdel-Maqsoud celebrate their gold medal at the finish line

At the 2017 Under-19 Modern Pentathlon World Championships in Prague in the Czech Republic, Egyptians collected the most medals; six : one gold, three silver and two bronze as they made it to the podium in every discipline.

The first victory came in the men’s relay when Egypt came from behind to claim the men’s gold medal. The Egyptian duo of Ahmed Al-Guindi and Mohannad Shaaban started the laser-run in third place but managed to overcome their rivals to win a thrilling contest. Belarus (Uladzislau Astrouski & Mikita Ivarouski) secured silver ahead of bronze medalists, Korea (Kim Woocheol & Kim Kyounghwan), which secured a place on the podium thanks to a superb laser-run.

In fact it was a dramatic finish in sunny Prague as Russia (Vladimir Chelmakin & Sergey Kolbasenko) had finished the final shoot at the same time as the three medallists, France (Xavier Dufour & Jean-Baptiste Mourcia) having already relinquished their starting advantage.

It was a hard-earned lead that France was unable to convert. They had performed best in fencing with a score of 28V/10D, before Russia and Korea made up ground in swimming.

In the end it was the consistency of the Egyptian duo that was decisive. They started the laser-run only four seconds behind leaders; France, and one second behind Russia who led at the third shoot.

Egypt’s Sami Awad, a member of the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) Coaches Committee, said following the victory that he was proud of Egyptian Coach Amr Said who was named best coach of the day. “I’m happy that we are creating this tradition because it recognises the role of coaches in supporting elite athletes,” Awad said.

In the women’s individual event, Adelina Ibatullina of Russia stood on top of the world after a thrilling battle for the title. The Russian overcame a 12-sec deficit to win a spectacular gold after starting the laser-run in fifth place. She was joined on the podium by two other athletes who demonstrated their composure and stamina.

Silver went to Elena Micheli, whose efforts enabled Italy to claim team gold, and bronze was collected by Egypt’s Haidi Morsi, a Rio 2016 Olympian who won bronze in this competition in 2016 and silver in 2015.

“Today we saw a dramatic conclusion to the women’s individual final with the winners coming from behind, but what we saw from all competitors was a great passion and energy,” UIPM President Klaus Schormann said following the women’s individual competition.

Italy successfully defended the women’s relay title. Last year in Limerick (IRL) this event was won by Elena Micheli and Aurora Tognetti and today their compatriots Beatrice Mercuri and Maria Lea Lopez kept the flag flying with an assured performance, finishing third in fencing and fourth in swimming before seizing their opportunity in the laser-run.

Italy started the climactic event with a four-second deficit to leaders Kazakhstan (Akbota Bekbassar & Sofya Prizhennikova), who had come first in fencing with a tally of 25 victories and 11 defeats. However, their running let them down and it was Egypt’s (Mariam Amer and Salma Abdel-Maksoud) who ended up being Italy’s main challengers at Juliska Sports Centre in Prague.

For some of the race the Egyptian duo took the lead and the two nations left the range together after the final shoot, but in the end Italy (Mercuri/Lopez) pulled away to win by 14 seconds as the Egyptian duo of Amer and Abdel-Maksoud followed second with bronze medallists Hungary (Luca Barta & Michelle Gulyas) a further seven seconds behind after an impressive laser-run.

The men’s individual event confirmed that Korea’s reputation for producing young pentathletes of the highest pedigree was further enhanced when Kim Woocheol produced a commanding victory. The Korean dominated the competition to claim the title with 19 seconds to spare over silver medallist Al-Guindi of Egypt, with Oleksandr Shelest of Ukraine battling his way to bronze.

The 18-year-old Woocheol broke the two-minute mark in swimming to record the fifth fastest time (1:59.61), then shared top marks in fencing with Pele Uibel (GER) as they each scored 25 victories and 10 defeats.

That gave the Koreans an 11-second advantage in laser-run over Gytis Gudlevicius (LTU) and 14sec over Shelest (UKR). The leader never let anybody get a glimpse of him. For a while Gudlevicius and Al-Guindi threatened to make inroads into his lead but it didn’t materialise and the battle took place between silver and bronze.

Korea won team gold thanks in part to the seventh place finish of Kim Khyoungwan. Egypt secured silver as Shaaban bested teammate Al-Guindi who took fourth place. The bronze went to Hungary.

“This was an excellent men’s individual final and the way Korea dominated the team and individual events showed how developed our sport has become around the world,” Schormann said.

“To have Egypt on the podium representing another continent – and they have won the most medals in this championships with still one more day to come – shows that our development work is really paying off and I wish all of them successful qualifying competitions for the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, where the best 24 male and female athletes will compete,” Schormann added.

The 2017 UIPM U-19 World Championships, formerly known as the UIPM Youth A World Championships and comprising a tetrathlon format (fencing / swimming / laser-run), concluded with the mixed relay where Adel and Al-Guindi claimed the last bronze.

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