Wednesday,20 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1384, (8 - 14 March 2018)
Wednesday,20 February, 2019
Issue 1384, (8 - 14 March 2018)

Ahram Weekly

France laser focused

French athletes were at their best in the 2018 Pentathlon World Cup 1 in Cairo, reports Inas Mazhar


Egypt’s pentathlete Hamed competing at the shooting and swimming competitions of the World Cup

France was victorious at the UIPM 2018 Pentathlon World Cup 1 held in Cairo this week. The French athletes triumphed in both the men’s and women’s events. It was Frenchwoman Elodie Clouvel who opened the 2018 season in style with a commanding victory in the women’s individual final. The Rio 2016 Olympic silver medalist performed consistently throughout the day and immediately took control of the laser-run after starting one second behind the leader, Iryna Khokhlova of Argentina.

Egypt’s pentathlete Hamed competing at the shooting and swimming competitions of the World Cup

In the end, Tamara Alekszejev of Hungary overtook Khokhlova to claim silver while Turkey’s Ilke Ozyuksel tore through the pack from 14th place to claim the bronze.

Gintare Venckauskaite of Lithuania also had a superb laser-run and finished fourth, pushing Khokhlova into fifth. Ekaterina Khuraskina of Russia crossed the line in sixth. There were also notable laser-run performances from Rio 2016 Olympic champion Chloe Esposito of Australia, 2017 world champion Gulnaz Gubaydullina of Russia and Anastasiya Prokopenko of Belarus in the next three places.

Clouvel said she was so happy with her victory. “This feels like my comeback because last year for me was not very good in training. This year I started training very hard with my team and I am so happy. My best part was the laser-run because in my head I knew I was strong from all the hard training.

“My major goals for the season are European Championships and World Championships so this was a great start. Here in Cairo we have had nice facilities, nice horses – a very good competition.”

France continued it stunning start of the year as their athletes won gold and silver in an action-packed men’s individual final, just a day after Clouvel had earned the women’s gold.

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 of Kazakhstan taking bronze. 

The one-two Frenchmen Patte and Belaud, following the dominant victory by Clouvel on Friday gave France 50 per cent of the medals on offer in Cairo.

The men’s victory marked a hugely satisfying return for Patte in his first competition for over a year. The 27-year-old’s steady nerves on the final shoot of the laser-run proved crucial as he denied victory to Belaud, the 2016 world champion. 

Kirill Belyakov of Russia had begun the laser-run in first but was quickly overtaken by Ilyashenko and had to settle for fourth place. Yaraslau Radziuk of Belarus and Ukraine’s Pavlo Tymoshchenko rounded out the top six.

Home competitor Sherif Rashad of Egypt was not far behind in seventh on a day when his compatriot Islam Hamed dramatically lost his place at the top of the field when he crashed out of the riding event.

“I’m sorry I fell off the horse. I was really doing well and was aiming high, but this is sport and competition. I am fine, though, and will work hard in the coming weeks to make an impressive comeback in the next World Cup in Los Angeles later this month,” a disappointed Hamed wrote on his Facebook account about his elimination from the competition. The Egyptian was in the lead before his fall.

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 to the World Championships with the France team and I want a medal.”

Another Egyptian, Ahmed Al-Guindi, had done well in the swimming competition earlier in the day as he came in third.

“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.

“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 of Poland, 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 the UIPM Category A competitions and you could see their confidence during the laser-run.

“Once again here in Cairo we have witnessed a day of drama and high-quality pentathlon across all five disciplines, and I know that the mixed relay will be a fitting climax to the Pentathlon World Cup Cairo,” Peciak said after the men’s final.

The UIPM 2018 Pentathlon World Cup Cairo concluded on Sunday with the mixed relay. However, this time it was Italy that replaced France on the top slot of the podium claiming the first place gold medal with France in second place and Belarus third with the bronze medal.

The Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne, commonly known by the acronym UIPM, is the international governing body of the modern pentathlon.

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