MODERN PENTATHLON: Cooke & Prokopenko surprise for Worlds golds in Mexico City

The men’s and women’s finals in the UIPM World Championships in Mexico City (MEX) both featured come-from-behind wins by first-time World Champions, determined by the final event, the Laser Run.

In the men’s race, the 2014 Worlds silver medalist. Amro El Geziry – then competing for Egypt, but now for the United States, started the Laser Run in the lead! But it didn’t last long, as he shot poorly and eventually faded to 36th in the event and finished 27th overall.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s 2015 World Champion, Pavlo Tymoshchenko was moving up smartly, but also faded on the last lap and shot poorly in the final series. That left an opening for France’s Valentin Prades – a member of the 2013 World Team Champions – to grab the lead and he looked like the winner, starting to celebrate around the final turn on the track. But unheralded James Cooke (GBR) was also coming on and launched a final sprint – remember the 2,200 m/7,217 feet of altitude! – and caught Prades at the line in a photo finish.

This wasn’t a surprise, it was a stunner. In Cooke’s best three World Cup outings in 2018, he finished seventh, 25th and 35th! He won his first World Championships medal, as did Prades, but it will be a while before Cooke actually believes he did it! He said afterwards, “I saw Valentin go past me and I thought ‘oh no’, but I just dug in and kept going and see what could happen, and I just found in the last 100m that I had something left in my legs.”

Anastasiia Prokopenko (BLR) was also well back – by 60 seconds and in 12th place – at the start of the women’s laser Run, but as an ace shooter, she quickly made up the deficit on France’s Marie Oteiza (FRA) and Hungary’s Sarolta Kovacs to move into a medal position.

When German Annika Schleu spent 26 seconds on the shooting range during the final lap and Prokopenko finished in nine, she was able to run to the finish first. After winning her first World Championships medal – a bronze in 2017 – she is now World Champion at 33. With Oteiza finishing third, all three on the podium earned their first World Championships medals.

It was a good Worlds for France, which won the men’s Team and Team Relay title in addition to Prades’s silver and had five medals in all. The top women’s effort came from Prokopenko and Belarus, which also won the women’s Team Relay. Germany won four medals, taking the Mixed Team Relay and medals in each of the three women’s events. Summaries:

UIPM World Championships
Mexico City (MEX) ~ 6-13 September 2018
(Full results here)

Men: 1. James Cooke (GBR), 1,435; 2. Valentin Prades (FRA), 1,435; 3. Pavlo Tymoshchenko (UKR), 1,429; 4. Jan Kuf (CZE), 1,425; 5. Ahmed Hamed (EGY), 1,424; 6. Valentin Belaud (FRA), 1,420; 7. Alvaro Sandoval (MEX), 1,416; 8. Linbin Zhang (CHN), 1,413. Also: 14. Brendan Anderson (USA), 1,396; … 27. Amro Elgeziry (USA), 1,368.

Men/Team: 1. France (Prades, Belaud, Loubet), 4,250; 2. Great Britain (Cooke, Pillage, Choong), 4,176; 3. Ukraine (Tymoshchenko, Pavlyuk, Fedechko), 4,151; 4. China, 4,413; 5. Germany, 4,119; 6. Mexico, 4,025; 7. Italy, 3,900; 8. Hungary, 3,883. Also: 12. United States (Amro Elgeziry, Millett, Anderson), 3,789.

Men/Team Relay: 1. Alexandre Henrard/Valentin Belaud (FRA), 1,518; 2. Jan Kuf/Martin Vlach (CZE), 1,513; 3. Todor Mihalev/Yavor Peshleevski (BUL), 1,482; 4. Yaraslau Radziuk/Ilya Palazkov (BLR), 1,475; 5. Yu Zhang/Shuai Luo (CHN), 1,470; 6. Oleg Naumov/Egor Puchkarevskiy (RUS), 1,462; 7. Dmytro Baliuk/Dmytro Kirpulyanskyy (UKR), 1,459; 8. Pavel Ilyashenko/Vladislav Michshenko (KAZ), 1,452.

Women: 1. Anastasia Prokopenko (BLR), 1,346; 2. Annika Schleu (GER), 1,332; 3. Marie Oteiza (FRA), 1,329; 4. Zsofia Foldhazi (HUN), 1,320; 5. Uliana Batashova (RUS), 1,318; 6. Sarolta Kovacs (HUN), 1,312; 7. Janine Kohlmann (GER), 1,310; 8. Mayan Oliver (MEX), 1,302. Also: 36. Samantha Achterberg (USA), 943.

Women/Team: 1. Hungary (Kovacs, Foldhazi, Alekszejev), 3,924; 2. France (Oteiza, Belhamri, Clouvel), 3,918; 3. Germany (Schleu, Kohlmann, Matthes), 3,914; 4. Russia, 3,865; 5. Great Britain, 3,811; 6. Italy, 3,503; 7. Mexico, 3,471l 8. China, 3,448. Also: 11. United States (Samantha Achtenberg, Jessica Davis, Naomi Ross), 2,608.

Women/Team Relay: 1. Anastasiya Prokopenko/Iryna Prasiantsova (BLR), 1,381; 2. Ronja Steinborn/Annika Schleu (GER), 1,364; 3. Sofia Cabrera/Sophia Hernandez (GUA), 1,353; 4. Yufei Bian/Xiaonan Zhang (CHN), 1,338; 5. Blanka Guzi/Michelle Gulyas (HUN), 1,322; 6. Soo Jin Yang/Juhye Choi (KOR), 1,317; 7. Pamela Zapata/Ayelen Zapata (ARG), 1,288; 8. Karol Gonzalez/ Catherine Mayran Oliver (MEX), 1,276. Also: 10. Naomi Ross/Sam Achtenberg (USA), 1,212.

Mixed/Team Relay: 1. Rebecca Langrehr/Fabrian Liebig (GER), 1,452; 2. Michelle Gulyas/Gergo Bruckmann (HUN), 1,427; 3. Emma Riff/Alexandre Henrard (FRA), 1.416; 4. Elena Potapenko/Pavel Ilyashenko (KAZ), 1,411; 5. Elishka Pribylova/Ondrej Polivka (CZE), 1.402; 6. Mingyu Zhang/Shuhuan Li (CHN), 1,399; 7. Anna Buriak/Oleg Naumov (RUS), 1,387; 8. Sergio Flores, Melissa Mireles (MEX), 1,380. Also: 13. Naomi Ross/Seamus Millett (USA), 1,311.