With five different skills involved, it’s hard to imagine someone winning a world title out of nowhere, but that’s what happened at the Modern Pentathlon Worlds in Budapest, Hungary.
Belarus’s Volha Silkina had never finished higher than fourth in a UIPM World Cup and was just sixth at the 2019 European Championships. But she won the fencing, placed a respectable 12th in swimming and was third in riding and had a huge 31-second lead going into the Laser Run!
She had no trouble with her shooting and finished comfortably, with the 19th-fastest time, but won with 1,368 points to 1,357 for another surprise medal winner, Elena Micheli of Italy, who out-leaned Kate French (GBR) at the tape.
It’s the second straight women’s world title for Belarus, following Anastasia Prokopenko from 2018, who finished fourth. One of the expected contenders, Laura Asadauskaite of Lithuania, had to retire after an injury in the fencing competition.
The 2016 World Champion, Valentin Belaud of France, had a good plan entering the meet and started beautifully, standing second after the fencing with 23 wins. But after a 17th-place finish in swimming, he needed a strong riding performance to set him up for the Laser Run.
While the formidable Korean duo of Jihun Lee and Woongtae Jun faltered badly and fell back into the pack, Belaud came back into the lead with a perfect score of 300 in riding, giving him a two-second lead over Joseph Choong of Great Britain into the Laser Run.
Choong challenged early, but Belaud ran away and finished almost 13 seconds ahead of his rival to win his second world title in four years. Choong managed to overtake Jun late for the silver as the Korean posted the fourth-fastest Laser Run in the field.
In the Mixed Relay, the Egyptian duo of Salma Abdelmaksoud and Eslam Hadad stormed through the fencing competition and placed third in riding and cruised home to the gold medal after starting the Laser Run with a 41-second advantage. Belaud won a second medal, with Elodie Clouvel, in second. Summaries:
UIPM World Championships
Budapest (HUN) ~ 1-8 September 2019
(Full results here)
Individual: 1. Valentin Belaud (FRA), 1,468; 2. Joseph Choong (GBR), 1,453; 3. Woongtae Jun (KOR), 1.452; 4. Jihun Lee (KOR), 1,439; 5. Robert Kasza (HUN), 1,436; 6. Pavlo Tymoshchenko (UKR), 1,434; 7. Ilya Palazkov (BLR), 1,429; 8. Eslam Hamad (EGY), 1,426.
Team: 1. Korea (Jun, Lee, Jung), 4,309; 2. Hungary, 4,272; 3. Great Britain, 4,258; 4. Germany, 4,092; 5. France, 4,002; 6. Belarus, 3,928; 7. China, 3,917; 8. Ukraine, 3,913.
Team Relay: 1. Alexander Nobis/Patrick Dogue (GER), 1,506; 2. Jinhwa Jung/Woongtae Jun (KOR), 1,482; 3. Alexander Lesun/Danil Kalimullin (RUS), 1,475; 4. Yaraslau Radziuk/Kirill Kasyanik (BLR), 1,465; 5. Alexandre Henrard/Jean Baptiste Mourcia (FRA), 1,459; 6. Mohanad Shaban/Ahmed Hamid (EGY), 1,449; 7. Illes Szabo/Bence Kardos (HUN), 1,439; 8. Lukasz Gutkowski/Daniel Lawrynowicz (POL), 1,432. Also: 18. Tyler Evans/Amro Elgeziry (USA), 1,156.
Individual: 1. Volha Silkina (BLR), 1,368; 2. Elena Micheli (ITA), 1,357; 3. Kate French (GBR), 1,357; 4. Anastasiya Prokopenko (BLR); 5. Annika Schleu (GER), 1,340; 6. Elodie Clouvel (FRA), 1,340; 7. Sun-Woo Kim (KOR), 1,337; 8. Gintare Venckauskaite (LTU), 1,330.
Team: 1. Belarus (Silkina, Prokopenko, Prasiantsova), 4,007; 2. Great Britain, 3,991; 3. Germany, 3.933; 4. Italy, 3,833; 5. Hungary, 3,815; 6. Korea, 3,813; 7. France, 3,540; 8. Mexico, 3,491.
Team Relay: 1. Mayan Oliver/Mariana Arceo (MEX), 1,338; 2. Luca Barta/Kamilla Reti (HUN), 1,329; 3. Unju Kim/Mina Jeong (KOR), 1,326; 4. Kate Coleman/Eilidh Prise (IRL), 1,305; 5. Sarolta Simon/Blanka Guzi (HUN), 1,303; 6. Barbora Ciprova/Karolina Krenkova (CZE), 1,285; 7. Adelina Ibatullina/Kseniia Fraltsova (RUS), 1,281; 8. Mingyu Zhang/Yewen Gu (CHN), 1,271. Also: 11. Sam Achtenberg/Heidi Hendrick (USA), 1,177.
Team Relay: 1. Salma Abdelmaksoud/Eslam Hadad (EGY), 1,463; 2. Elodie Clouvel/Valentin Belaud (FRA), 1,454; 3. Anastasiya Prokopenko/Ilya Palazkov (BLR), 1,448; 4. Annika Schleu/Fabien Liebig (GER), 1,441; 5. Anna Maliszewska/Sebastian Stasiak (POL), 1,428; 6. Sunwoo Kim/Jihun Lee (KOR), 1,420; 7. Gulnaz Gubaydullina/Alexander Lifanov (RUS), 1,419; 8. Shuhuan Li/Xiuting Zhong (CHN), 1,415. Also: 20. Sam Ruddock/Heidi Hendrick (USA), 1,044.