Pentathletes on top

Inas Mazhar , Tuesday 29 Aug 2023

The Egyptian pentathlon team was victorious at the World Championships in Bath, England, reports Inas Mazhar

The Egyptian pentathlon team was victorious at the World Championships in Bath, England
The Egyptian pentathlon team was victorious at the World Championships in Bath, England

 

Egypt topped the standings with four gold and one bronze in the one-week event which ran from 21 to 28 August.

Italy came second with two gold and two silver, while host Great Britain came third claiming a gold, two silver and one bronze. Ten athletes represented Egypt: six men and four women.

The 2018 Youth Olympic Games gold medalist Salma Abdel-Maksoud and Mohanad Shaaban claimed the gold medal in the mixed team event with a total of 1,413 points. The rising duo, as described by UIPM, the global governing body of the modern pentathlon, took gold with ease on the closing day of the championship.

Shaaban, Ahmed Al-Gendi aand Mohamed Al-Gendi also clinched the gold medal in the men’s team event with a total of 4,530 points. Ahmed Ashraf and Moetaz Wa’el ran as a rocket to snatch the men’s relay with 1,467 score points. The fourth gold medal was won by Malak Ismail and Amira Qandil in the women’s relay. The bronze medal was collected by Mohanad Shaaban in the men’s individual.

President of the Egyptian Modern Pentathlon Federation Sherif Al-Erian took to social media to praise his athletes. “Congratulations Team Egypt for all the hard work put in winning senior World Championships 2023 in Bath, UK.

“Proud of all our players who competed in the Senior World Championship. Snatching the team gold medal of the World Championships was spectacular. Beating both our strongest rivals Great Britain, in their home country, and also South Korea (the Asian powerhouse) was a great achievement. Well Done Team Egypt. We are all proud of you,” said Al-Erian, also vice president of UIPM.

According to UIPM, the men’s final was perhaps the most dramatic, mainly because Mexico’s Hernandez ran GBR Choong so close after starting with a 10sec deficit. He outpaced the Olympic champion on each running lap but found his rival to be in exceptional form on the range, which ultimately proved decisive. Behind them, there was an intriguing tussle between the Egyptians and Koreans, finally settled by the African contingent as UIPM 2023 Pentathlon World Cup final winner Shaaban fought off the challenge of fellow countrymen brothers Ahmed and Mohamed Al-Gendi, with Woongtae Jun of South Korea fighting back hard to claim the last spot in the top six.

The women’s team gold medal was won by Italy ahead of Great Britain and Hungary, while Egypt won the men’s team title with silver and bronze going to Great Britain and South Korea respectively.

Following his victory, the men’s bronze medalist Shaaban spoke to the media. “Today my competition was not very good in Riding, not even Fencing was very good, so I am so happy to have the bronze today.

“Before the race, I thought I couldn’t beat them but my coach Yasser Hefni believed in me, and he told me ‘you can’. Until the end of the race I couldn’t imagine who would win, but in the last shooting I think Ahmed Al-Gendi went with me and it was a strong finish. We are a strong team.”

With the conclusion of the World Championships, UIPM President Klaus Schormann reacted to the tournament.

“The competition was well prepared with excellent horses, a great facility and atmosphere with everything done the correct way for athletes – and the field of play was perfect. We had the visit of our honorary President Prince Albert II of Monaco, and also Francesco Ricci Bitti, the president of ASOIF, which underlined how our international people are looking to us and how we are preparing the athletes for Paris 2024.

“We saw this morning a great women’s final with some dramatic changes, and the same with the men’s final – in both races we might have seen a Mexican champion if they had been able to shoot a little better until the end.

“The hero of the home country, the Olympic champion, really acted in a tactical way and he had enormous reserves in his legs, and a fantastic dynamic in shooting. I looked in his face and he was really happy and proud to be the winner in his home country.

“Italian Modern Pentathlon has developed enormously on the women’s side, and don’t forget the British ladies who also had a great result. And then we have the Egyptians who are very strong on the men’s side. But we also saw other teams who performed strongly.

“I underline again that after the Olympic Games in Paris the modern pentathlon will change from Riding to Obstacle. We need good performances in Riding and here we saw much better performances compared to the last competitions. The athletes and trainers all understand that they need to invest enormously in this discipline.

“What we learned again in this World Championships is that the trainers and coaches are working very hard to prepare the athletes at the highest level. Congratulations to the athletes but also to the coaches.

“We have the strongest athletes on the podium, on the individual and team side,” Schormann said.


* A version of this article appears in print in the 31 August, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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