Sunday,22 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1358, (24 August - 6 September 2017)
Sunday,22 October, 2017
Issue 1358, (24 August - 6 September 2017)

Ahram Weekly

First on African soil

In 37C heat, the Senior World Modern Pentathlon Championships in Egypt — the first in Africa — is a test of strength and stamina, reports Inas Mazhar

 

Senior World Modern Pentathlon Championships
Senior World Modern Pentathlon Championships

The men’s qualifying round of the 2017 Senior World Modern Pentathlon Championships enters its third day today, 24 August. While Egypt has played host several times to modern pentathlon world cup events and world juniors and youth championships, this is the first time the senior world championships is being held on African soil.

The sport’s second biggest competition after the Olympic games kicked off in Egypt on Monday with a dazzling opening ceremony at the Pegasus Sports Club at Dreamland, in 6 October City. The opening ceremony was attended by Minister of Youth and Sports Khaled Abdel-Aziz, Klaus Schormann, president of the governing body of modern pentathlon (Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM), UIPM Secretary-General Shiny Fang and national sports dignitaries.

The eight-day competition sees the participation of 357 male and female athletes from 38 countries. The past two days saw the men’s and women’s relay. Tomorrow, day three, will see the women’s individual qualifying and the men’s final fencing ranking round. On Saturday, the men’s individual final and women’s final fencing ranking round will take place while the women’s individual final will be held on Sunday. The championship concludes on Monday with the mixed relay event.

With a huge number of athletes competing in the world championships, the event is expected to be beamed out, attracting a global audience of millions who will be glued to the television when the tournament goes live to 160 countries through Eurosport, which has a reach of 154 million TV homes. It will televise the championships across Europe and beyond as a result of a new deal struck with UIPM this year.

According to UIPM officials, 11 networks have signed up to broadcast the world championships live. Another 18 networks will televise the one-hour highlights package. Coverage of each fianl on Eurosport 2 will begin with highlights from swimming, fencing and riding before the laser-run and medal ceremony are relayed in full.

As with all UIPM World Cup events a live stream of the laser-run will also be available at the UIPM TV. The Olympic Channel is another place where online viewers can see the action as it happens.

The championships in Cairo will run from 22-28 August with 21 medals on offer. The 2017 event also marks the 20th anniversary of the first combined male and female world championships, held in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The competition is being held within the Dreamland development zone near the Pyramids of Giza. Daily temperatures in Cairo are expected to peak at 35-37C, providing an intense test of athletes’ endurance and stamina.

Schormann, attended the pre-event press conference together with Fang, Egyptian Modern Pentathlon President Sherif Al-Erian and Abdel-Aziz. In his address, Schormann said he was excited that the senior world championships were being held in Egypt.

“This is the first time UIPM’s flagship senior competition has been staged in Africa and the local organisers in Egypt have worked hard for many years and proved their ability to host high-class modern pentathlon competitions.

“The modern pentathlon is the ultimate test of moral as well as physical qualities, and this year the physical examination will be even more demanding due to the high temperatures in Cairo, although most of our experienced pentathletes have competed here and in other hot locations before.

“It is great news that pentathlon fans around the world will be able to watch the action on so many television and online channels, including Eurosport, and UIPM is proud to see the world championships develop as a great competition for all kinds of spectators.

“It is 20 years since the UIPM World Championships became a joint male and female competition and we now have an annual highlight of the international sporting calendar which goes from strength to strength,” Schormann said.

Al-Erian had previously welcomed the participants and officials taking part in the senior world championships, wishing them an enjoyable experience at both the competitions and their stay in Greater Cairo.

Abdel-Aziz also welcomed the participants, wished them the best of luck, and delivered the greetings and support of the Egyptian government to the sport’s most prestigious event. The minister pointed to the fact that Egypt has been very busy this year playing host to several world events including the World U-19 Basketball Championship, the current U-23 World Volleyball Championships which ends tomorrow in Cairo, the World Seniors Modern Pentathlon and soon the World Juniors Taekwondo Championships.

“This only reveals and confirms that Egypt is capable of organising world-class events and that the country is both safe and secure,” Abdel-Aziz said.

The defending champions will be hard pressed to retain their titles. Hungary’s Sarolta Kovacs faces renewed competition from legendary Olympic champions Laura Asadauskaite (LTU) and Lena Schoeneborn (GER) among others while Valentin Belaud will be up against the ultra-consistent Pavlo Tymoshchenko (UKR) and the 2016 Olympic champion Alexander Lesun (RUS).

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