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Inas Mazhar , Tuesday 11 Jul 2023

The 2023 Under-17 Pentathlon World Championships are currently being held in Alexandria with a new discipline added and another scratched, reports Inas Mazhar

Al-Erian explaining to coaches and athletes the new discipline, obstacles, replacing equestrian other sports under the UIPM


This year’s edition of the U-17 Pentathlon World Championships in Alexandria will see a new discipline, obstacles, replacing equestrian for the first time in an international event supervised by the International Modern Pentathlon Union, commonly known as UIPM.

The UIPM announced two variations of the so-called “obstacle discipline” had been selected for testing to replace the scrapped horse-riding section.

The UIPM said the decision, which was taken by a focus group of 26 athletes, was designed to ensure the future of a sport that has been a core part of the Olympic Games for more than 100 years.

“Obstacles is the new discipline that the UIPM will be introducing at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games,” Sherif Al-Erian, president of the Egyptian Modern Pentathlon Federation, said.

“Accordingly, we have decided to include it in this edition so our athletes will get used to the new discipline and train on it for future events. We decided to start training and get familiar with the new discipline from now and in our national competitions, so by the time the Olympics comes next year, those who have the chance to qualify would be ready for the new challenge,” said Al-Erian, who is also the UIPM vice president and secretary-general of the Egyptian Olympic Committee.

The pioneers of Obstacle Discipline, which promises to transform the modern pentathlon, have given the concept a ringing endorsement.

Feedback from pentathletes who participated in four obstacle discipline test events run by the UIPM around the world in 2022 revealed a satisfaction rate of almost 90 per cent.

The one-week competition in Alexandria is taking place on the campus of the Arab Science, Technology and Maritime Transport Academy from 10 to 17 July. Egypt is hosting this year’s edition for the second time, having hosted the same age group in 2021 in the same venue.

Altogether, 210 male and female athletes from 35 countries are taking part in the event, in addition to 17 officials from the UIPM. 

In addition to host Egypt, the 34 nations comprise Brazil, Burkina Faso, Canada, China, Taiwan, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Britain, India, Italy, Guatemala, Hungary, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Kuwait, Mexico, Moldova, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine, the US, Uzbekistan, and Venezuela.

Egypt will take part with a 12-athlete delegation which includes six males — Osama Medhat, Mohamed Hatem, Tarek Tamer, Seif Wael, Omar Hussein, and Ali Ihab — and six females —  Farida Abu Hashem, Sara Amr, Janah Walid, Ritag Alaa, Aliaa Mahmoud, and Karma Hani.

The competition includes the boys individual, girls individual, the relay and the mixed relay. The athletes will be competing in fencing, swimming, obstacles, and the laser run.

“I wish all our U-17 athletes the best of luck in Alexandria 2023 and to them I say, ‘Go Team Egypt,’” Al-Erian said.

In the last edition held last year in Italy, Egypt clinched seven medals.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 13 July, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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