UIPM 2019 Pentathlon Junior World Championships: Egypt lead from the front in Men’s Relay
- Rashad & Shaban (EGY) dominate Fencing to create unassailable lead
- Host nation joy as Paradowski & Gutkowski win strong silver for Poland
- France (Fleurot & Singh) deny Russia in sprint for bronze
Egypt showcased their depth of talent in under-age men’s pentathlon as Sherif Rashad and Mohanad Shaban convincingly won the Men’s Relay at the UIPM 2019 Pentathlon Junior World Championships.
Egypt (Rashad/Shaban) gave themselves a chance with strong Fencing and Riding performances and executed their Laser Run to win a commanding gold, while host nation Poland (Oskar Paradowski & Lukasz Gutkowski) were equally comfortable in their pursuit of silver.
All the drama and uncertainty surrounded the race for bronze, where France (Ugo Fleurot & Paolo Singh) ultimately denied Russia (Vladimir Chelmakin & Andrei Petrov) in a thrilling duel for the final medal on the second day of the seasonal showpiece for Under 21 athletes.
Rashad (EGY) said before receiving his gold medal: “It was a really good day. I had a tough test in the Fencing, but luckily my friend here [Mohanad] was pretty good.
“The Riding was really, really good – only one obstacle – and the running was really hard, especially with the Polish athlete Lukasz. He was really close to me after the first shoot, and after the second shoot he was running like a beast.”
His partner Mohanad (EGY) said: “We hope that the semi-final will be easy and the four of us will be in the Men’s Individual Final. Maybe it will be the same as the Youth World Championships when we were first, second and third.”
Fleurot (FRA) said before receiving his silver medal: “It was difficult because there was a lot of competitors with a high level. During the Fencing it was a bit up and down, good victories and bad points, but we never gave it up and I want to thank Paolo.
“I just want to take pleasure from the individual event and give it my best, and maybe get a medal with the team.”
His partner Singh (FRA) added: “I made some bad mistakes in the Riding and that cost us some points. We started the Laser Run a bit far back but you never know, and we did a really great job.
“Ugo did a great run and handed over to me in 4th or 5th position and it was really close. I tried my best in the shooting but I was behind the Russian on both 800m laps. I felt that he wasn’t very confident and I thought ‘I’ve worked hard all these years for this’.
“I left the shooting range and honestly, until the 400m mark, I was thinking about 4th place and hwo it’s the only place you don’t want to finish. I said ‘go for it’ and it was hurting, but finally I arrived on his shoulder and I went as hard as I could.
“We won the European Junior Championships, one month ago here, and it was a great feeling so I hope we can do the same here. It would be huge.”
Gutkowski (POL) said before receiving his bronze medal: “We had a good result in Swimming and Fencing was really good and that created a good atmosphere in our team.
“In Riding we had a little technical mistake that cost us 20 penalties but we started Laser Run in 2nd position and it was good.
“In the individuals, of course I will fight for medals for myself and for the team, and we will see what comes.
“I want to thank Oskar for being a really good team-mate, and my coaches and also the organisers, who did a really good job here.”
His partner Paradowski (POL) added: “The Laser Run was pretty good but I made some mistakes in my last shoot. It happens, and it was OK.”
“I want to go to the Men’s Individual Final and maybe for me that would be enough.
“I want to thank my family and my friends, they are important for me, and I want to thank our coaches, because we owe our success to them.”
It was almost too close to call in the pool as Great Britain (Bradley Sutton & Oliver Murray), Belarus (Yauheni Arol & Mikita Ivarouski) and Russia (Chelmakin/Petrov) all broke the 1:53 mark, with the British duo touching first in 1:51.64.
Again, there was no outstanding nation on the piste but Egypt (Rashad/Shaban) emerged as top scorers with 22V/10D and two additional points in the Bonus Round.
Poland (Paradowski/Gutkowski) made it clear they were going to be in contention in front of a home crowd with a score of 21V/11D in the Ranking Round, while Belarus (Arol/Ivarouski) and Italy (Stefano Frezza & Riccardo Agazotti)
The Riding arena was where Egypt (Rashad/Shaban) truly put their stamp on the competition, with an almost flawless performance for a score of 293. Again the pressure was applied by Poland, not only by Paradowski & Gutkowski (280) but also by the home team’s second string of Marcel Suliga and Pawel Dabrowski.
Egypt (Rashad/Shaban) started with a 17sec lead over Poland (Paradowski/Gutkowski) and a 27sec advantage over 3rd-placed Italy (Frezza/Agazotti), with Russia (Chelmakin/Petrov) a further 10sec behind and France (Fleurot/Singh) starting 7th, 52sec off the pace.
Shaban (EGY) set the tone with a confident first two circuits, keeping a lead of 50-100m from Paradowski (POL), who in turn kept the rest of the pack at bay. In fact this status quo remained throughout the race, with all the tension surrounding the battle for bronze.
Fleurot (FRA) had made ground on the first visit to the shooting range, moving up to 5th, and by the time of the handover he had given Singh (FRA) a good chance of catching his Russian rival. The two foes remained together throughout the second half of the Laser Run until Singh (FRA) made his move at the halfway stage of the final 800m lap, and he summoned all his stamina to hang on to the prize.
By now, Rashad (EGY) had completed the procession of gold, building on the success of the UIPM 2018 Under 19 World Championships where Egypt achieved an incredible 1-2-3 in the Men’s Individual event, where Fleurot (FRA) had to settle for 4th.
UIPM President Dr Klaus Schormann said: “In today’s Men’s Relay it was wonderful to see the young generation demonstrating their high performances. Egypt have a lot of strength and they won the gold medal even without the highly talented Youth Olympic Games champion from Buenos Aires 2018, Ahmed Elgendy.
“It’s always good when the host nation wins a medal so it was very important that Poland won silver, and I think the atmosphere among the young athletes was so nice to see. Team spirit is so important in our competitions and we are looking forward to the Mixed Relay at the end of this Junior World Championships.
“Congratulations to the organisers for their great preparation of facilities and horses, and Drzonkow is one of the strongest pillars we have in the world for competitions and training.”
WATCH AND FOLLOW
The UIPM 2019 Junior World Championships in Drzonkow (POL) runs from July 7-13 and continues on Tuesday, July 9 with qualification for the Women’s Individual Final on Thursday, July 11, when team medals will also be at stake.
Visit the UIPM website or download “UIPM Central” from your app store to keep track of live results throughout the UIPM 2019 Junior Pentathlon World Championships.