Monday,22 April, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1416, (1 - 7 November 2018)
Monday,22 April, 2019
Issue 1416, (1 - 7 November 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Ruling pentathletes

Egypt dazzled again at the 2018 Biathle/Triathle World Championships, reports Inas Mazhar


Young pentathletes starting their run
Young pentathletes starting their run

After taking the recent Youth Olympic Games by storm and bringing home two gold medals for the first time in Egypt’s history, the country’s modern pentathlon athletes hauled in 77 medals in the 2018 Biathle/Triathle World Championships in all age categories, starting from eight years old.

Biathle is a sub-sport of the modern pentathlon invented to create opportunities for training the run and swim parts of pentathlon in real race conditions. Triathle is a relatively new sport in which athletes compete in a shoot-swim-run competition.

The four-day event concluded on Sunday at Egypt’s famed Red Sea resort of Sahl Hasheesh in Hurghada. Over 520 athletes from 26 countries participated.

Egypt collected 77 medals -- 30 gold, 21 silver and 26 bronze. In the Masters event, the Egyptian over-50 team claimed the bronze medal behind Germany and Spain.

Biathle and triathle are two of the cornerstones of the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) development programmes, becoming one during this world championship.

Biathle includes two sports (run-swim-run) while triathle three (swim-run-shoot), with medals at stake across individual and mixed relay events. Biathle ranges from Under-9 to Masters 70+ and Triathle from Under-11 to Masters 60+.

“We are really glad and proud with these results,” Sherif Al-Erian, president of the Egyptian Modern Pentathlon Federation, said. “It just came after winning our precious two gold medals in the sport at the Buenos Aires Games, making it a double victory. We have been planning to rule the sport since a long time and these achievements only prove us right. We have set our long-term plans and to stick to it and were serious about it. We have dedicated our work to all our promising athletes: men and women, seniors, youth and juniors.

“Unlike other federations who only care for their first teams, we focused on all age groups because we believed that the youngsters should follow the footsteps of the seniors when they retire. And here we are, in the lead of the modern pentathlon in all age categories and now, we proved ourselves in both the sport’s other disciplines, the biathle and triathle.

“What makes us proud with our achievements and confirms our progress is the UIPM’s appreciation of our efforts and referring to us in their official Website, writing ‘Egypt’s development programme has proved to be exceptionally strong in recent years’. This is great for us. It means we have taken the right course and thus it motivates us even more,” Al-Erian told Al-Ahram Weekly.

UIPM President Klaus Schormann said its sports movement “has gone from strength to strength in Egypt, with many excellent competitions such as the Pentathlon World Cup and the 2017 Pentathlon World Championships in Cairo, and with many impressive results for the country’s athletes at all levels again this year.

“We are delighted to be in Sahl Hasheesh, in Hurghada, for a competition that is very important for the development of our sports in communities and countries around the world.

It is important that we continue to develop the sports which form the base of a pyramid structure supporting our core Olympic sport of modern pentathlon. Biathle and triathle play a critical role in encouraging young athletes to take up UIPM sports and develop their multi-disciplinary abilities,” Schormann added.

There were some impressive moments for Egyptian athletes in Hurghada. There was joy for the host nation in the U-19 category as Ahmed Hefni, a silver medallist in triathle the day before, went one better to top the podium the following day.

Other nations also had their fingerprints of success on the sport, including Ukraine and Lithuania which demonstrated their triathle prowess as they dominated the senior individual categories on day three of the competition.

Lithuania’s Aurelija Tamasauskaite denied Eliska Pribylova of the Czech Republic her third gold medal of the championships as she won the senior women’s gold, with compatriot Lina Batuleviciute claiming bronze.

The senior men’s event saw six Ukraine athletes finish in the top seven, with Oleksandr Tovkai winning gold and Dmytro Baliuk taking bronze, with well-known pentathletes Dmytro Kirpulyanskyy and Yuriy Fedechko also finishing in the top six.

The only non-Ukraine athlete in the mix was silver medallist Ondrej Svechota of the Czech Republic who had teamed up with his fellow countrywoman Pribylova to win gold in both the biathle and triathle mixed relays earlier in the week.

At the junior level, South Africa enjoyed double gold as Dylan Kruger of South Africa beat Martin Vlach of the Czech Republic to the men’s title with Roman Pleshkov of Kazakhstan completing the podium. Tara Schwulst (RSA) won the women’s title as the Czech Karolina Krenkova took silver ahead of Egypt’s Noureen Al-Gamal.

In the U-19 category, the host nation enjoyed a memorable one-two as Mohamed Marzouk and Hefni won gold and silver respectively.

Czech Republic duo Pribylova and Svechota made it two gold medals in two days as they picked up a second mixed relay title on day two. Then the duo added a triathle gold to the biathle prize they won on day one, this time with a huge winning margin of more than a minute.

Valeriya Permykina and Vladyslav Rydvanskyi claimed silver for Ukraine, with Lena Gottwald and Pierre Jander of Germany picking up bronze in the senior category.

On day two of the championships, Sahl Hasheesh was a witness to a historic first international medal in UIPM Sports for Nepal, as Saloni Lama and Rahul Darshan won bronze in the U-19 category. Surprisingly, the podium was an all-Asian affair as the Nepalese duo joined gold medallists Kazakhstan (Ashraf Kamalova & Denis Tunitskiy) and silver medallists India (Ahilya Sachin Chavan and Ritik Sharma) in receiving their medals.

The Czech Republic also won junior gold to go with their senior success, thanks to Karolina Krenkova and Martin Vlach, while Egypt dominated the youth categories with three gold medals, each of the winning duos forcing South African rivals to accept silver. South Africa won U11 gold and one of the Masters titles, with the other two going to Spain and Great Britain.

Two athletes from the Czech Republic stood on top of the podium. Pribylova and Svechota teamed up to win gold in the biathle mixed relay, with Lushano Adendorff Smit and Tiaan Rossouw of South Africa claiming silver. A familiar face from the pentathlon community joined them on the medal rostrum: Kirpulyanskyy, an individual World Championship bronze medallist who competed at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympics, joined forces with Zinayida Batrak to win bronze for Ukraine.

Senior success for the Czechs and South Africans followed a reverse result in the junior category, where Schwulst and Kruger won gold ahead of Veronika Novotna and Martin Vlach (CZE).

In the youth categories, there were three other gold medals for South Africa as well as one each for host nation Egypt, Great Britain and Kazakhstan. In three Masters categories there were titles for Great Britain, Spain and South Africa, which is second to Egypt as the most advanced African nation in the sport.

Four triathle mixed relay titles were decided at the youth level, with Great Britain winning two and one each for Egypt and South Africa.

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