Victory sustained

Inas Mazhar , Tuesday 1 Aug 2023

The Egyptian Under-19 pentathletes were triumphant at the World Championships in Turkey, reports Inas Mazhar

Victory sustained


Egyptians clinched two gold and two silver medals in the final of the International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) 2023 Under-19 World Championships held in Istanbul. Egypt hosted and won at the U-17 earlier this month in the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria.

The two gold medals were won by Malak Ismail who won the women’s individual gold medal with 1,391 in total points and helped the Egyptian women’s team deservingly clinch the gold medal with total points of 4,055 ahead of Hungary and France.

“Today was really amazing,” Ismail told the media following her victory. “Yesterday I started the fencing and didn’t go well in the first part with two victories and seven defeats. I was very bad. Then I got really good in the last 26 matches. I lost just two. It was very nice to do that.

“I was a little nervous about the obstacle because I didn’t compete in it before. In the qualifications I got 46 seconds and was so proud. Today, I got my nerves out of the way and got 41 seconds. I started the laser run in the first position, 27 seconds ahead of the second. The shooting was not great for me but the running, because I was running alone, was okay. The last lap, me and the Korean girl, got on the range with each other but I know I have a very strong finish. I tried to save in the first 300 metres and I got after her and in the last 200m got into the gold medal.

“I think the obstacle is good; it’s amazing to compete on. It’s good to see so many young athletes now and they’re happy with the obstacle discipline. It’s an adventure game. 

“I’m trying to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics. It’s a dream for me but I hope to do it and then go to the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028 after that,” Ismail told UIPM.

Though the Egyptian men’s team failed to clinch an individual medal, they managed to claim the teams’ silver medal with 4,394 points, coming behind France which clinched the gold medal with 4,422 points and ahead of Hungary which collected 4,372 points.

The second silver medal for the Egyptians was won at the mixed team event with Fairda Khalil and Mohamed Sherif coming second with 1,336 points behind the French duo who claimed the gold medal with 1,377 points. The bronze medal went to South Korea with 1,342 points.

The Egyptians, who took part in the one-week event with a delegation of six male and six female athletes, thus continued their dominance of the sport in all age groups and in individual, team and the mixed team discipline, in any competition, whether the World Cup or the World Championships. Seeing Egyptian athletes on the podium at any of these events has become a norm in the modern pentathlon.

According to the UIPM website, Ismail gave a further signal of Egypt’s golden generation of emerging talent as she claimed the women’s gold with a superb all-round performance. Ismail carried a huge lead into the laser run but almost saw victory disappear as Sumin Shin of South Korea stormed to silver. Bronze went to Zora Zeman of Hungary. The team gold also went to Egypt with Hungary taking silver and France bronze. 

President of the Egyptian Modern Pentathlon Federation Sherif Al-Erian talked about how proud he was of the achievements of the young Egyptian pentathletes. “They have been doing great, in the U-17 in Alexandria two weeks ago and now at the U-19 in Istanbul. They have easily coped with the new sequence and claimed medals in both events. The girls were great in Turkey winning the team event by beating powerhouses Hungary, France, Germany and South Korea. This proves we are going in the right direction towards the 2024 Olympics in Paris next year,” Al-Erian said.

Egypt won three Olympic medals in the modern Pentathlon; two gold medals at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games won by Ahmed Al-Gindi and Salma Ayman and a silver won by Al-Gindi at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

UIPM President Klaus Schormann told journalists that the success of the juniors and youth pentathletes competing according to the new modern pentathlon sequence “is a strong message for the future, and I listened to the young people and could see how excited they were — they love what they are doing now.

“The change is coming at the right moment. We had the U-17 World Championships in Alexandria, Egypt, already with great messages, and now you can see that the U-19 athletes have much more experience already. We are creating a showcase for the Olympic Games in the future,” Schormann said.

Athletes from 35 nations competed in Istanbul as U-19 pioneers in the new modern pentathlon sequence of fencing/obstacle/swimming/laser run that will be adopted at all levels of the sport after the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 3 August, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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