Egypt at the double as relays and Family Fun Day kick off Pentathlon World Championships at the University of Bath

22 August 2023

Egypt secured the first gold medals of the UIPM Pentathlon World Championships 2023 after an action-packed day of relay competition at the University of Bath.

Amira Kandil and Malak Ismail claimed the women’s relay title after consistent performances across all five disciplines, crossing the finish line six seconds clear of Italy’s Beatrice Mercuri and Aurora Tognetti.

Bronze went to overnight leaders Mayan Oliver and Mariana Arceo of Mexico, while Pentathlon GB’s Gina Speakman and Alex Bousfield – who study Sports Performance and Politics & International Relations respectively at the University of Bath – finished fifth in front of an appreciate home crowd.

The men’s relay saw Moutaz Mohamed and Ahmed Hamed emulate their compatriots’ earlier success as they held off the challenge of Hungary and South Korea in a thrilling laser-run. Guy Anderson and Sam Curry, who studied Accounting & Finance and Politics & International Relations respectively at the University, placed eighth for the home nation.

The horse riding, fencing bonus round and laser-run all took place in the outdoor pentathlon arena built on the athletics track at the Team Bath Sports Training Village, while the swimming was broadcast to spectators live on a big screen.

Tuesday also doubled as a Family Day with children, parents and grandparents taking the opportunity to enjoy world-class sport while trying their hand at the pentathlon disciplines – including obstacle course, being introduced to the sport after the Paris 2024 Olympic Games – in hugely-popular ‘have a go’ activities on the indoor tennis courts.

Egypt’s Amira Kandil and Malak Ismail celebrate as they cross the finish line to win the women’s relay. CREDIT: Jon Rowley.

The women’s relay saw Mexico’s Oliver and Arceo begin the day top of the leaderboard following 29 wins in Monday’s fencing ranking round, staged in the Team Bath Arena.

Tuesday’s opening discipline, the horse riding, proved difficult for all 12 teams with four eliminations and no clear rounds. Kandil and Ismail only picked up 18 penalty points, moving them up to first place, and they maintained their advantage with the third-fastest time in the London 2012 Legacy Swimming Pool, which has been adapted to 25m for the Championships.

They began the laser-run two seconds clear of Italy’s Mercuri and Tognetti, with those positions remaining the same at the end of an exciting battle for top spot. Oliver and Arceo, who started in fourth, overhauled China’s Xiuting Zhong and Linzhi Xie on their way to completing the podium.

In the men’s relay, Ukraine’s Kyrym Shekhmametev and Dmytro Kirpulyanskyy topped Monday’s fencing ranking round with 19 victories and they maintained that advantage after another challenging ride which saw Czech duo Matous Tuma and Filip Houska record the only maximum 300 points of the day.

The field tightened up considerably after the swim, with a rapid time from Egypt’s Mohamed and Hamed – bettered only by Chinese Taipei’s Hsiang Hu and Yi Hu – cutting the lead to just one point going into the laser-run.

The Ukrainian duo slipped down the rankings, eventually finishing tenth, as Egypt and Hungary’s Gergely Regos and Balazs Szep battled for gold. Hamed eventually made a decisive break on the last lap to take the victory, while Hungary just held off a late charge from South Korea’s Changwan Seo and Jihun Lee to secure silver.

Egypt’s Ahmed Hamed overtaking Hungary’s Balazs Szep on the last lap in front of the watching spectators

After starting the day in 12th following a disappointing fencing performance, GB’s Anderson and Curry performed well throughout the day and crossed the line in eighth place to a big cheer from the home crowd.

Curry said: “We’re both pleased with how the day turned out, we put ourselves in a position where we had to fire our way up and managed to do that throughout. I’m really proud of how we capped things off.”

Anderson added: “We had a tough day yesterday but each event today went well. There’s going to be some good results coming up this week, good luck to all the guys in the individual events.”

The individual pentathlon competitions begin on Wednesday with the women’s qualifying round, with the men getting their campaigns under way on Thursday. The semi-finals are on Friday and Saturday respectively, followed by both finals on Sunday where medals and Paris 2024 Olympic Games qualifying places will be won.

Tickets for the World Championships, which conclude on Monday 28th with the mixed relay, are available now – click here to buy and to see the full schedule.

Top picture: The men’s relay medal winners with dignitaries including University of Bath Director of Sport Stephen Baddeley (second from right), UIPM President Dr Klaus Schormann (third from right) and Lynda Deane of Bath & North East Somerset Council (third from left).

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