MODERN PENTATHLON: Rio champion Lesun shows he’s getting ready for Tokyo with win in Prague

Russia's Aleksander Lesun wins the Rio 2016 gold medal!

Russia’s Aleksander Lesun is a two-time World Champion and the reigning Olympic gold medalist from the Rio Games in 2016. But until the UIPM World Cup in Prague (CZE), he had been quiet recently.

Not any more. Lesun won his first individual World Cup since 2014 with an impressive display in the fencing competition, winning 29 bouts, and in riding, placing seventh. That allowed him to finish 19th in swimming and only 33rd in the Laser Run to cross the line first.

“I fought hard today in my participation in the competition and I am satisfied with the venue, the horses and the course – everything,” he said afterwards. “But I think I can work harder for future success.”

Lesun ended up winning by only eight points over Britain’s Joseph Choong, the 2018 European Championships bronze medalist. Choong himself won a tight race to the finish with Germany’s Marvin Dogue and earned second by a single point, 1,481-1,480.

Britain’s Kate French similarly dominated the women’s competition, starting by winning the fencing program with 24 wins. She was 16th in swimming and 13th in riding, but started the Laser Run with a nine-second edge. She was seventh-fastest overall and finished with a 14-second edge for her third career World Cup victory.

She won by 14 points over Russia’s Gulnaz Gubaydullina, the 2017 World Champion, and 35 points over teammate Jessica Varley (1,356), who won her first-ever World Cup medal.

“I am very, very happy,” said French. “I needed a good result. It has just been a really good day so I’m super pleased. The first few competitions haven’t gone to plan, so I’m really pleased I have been able to get it right for this one.”

Britain got more good news in the Mixed Relay, with a win by Sam Curry and Joanna Muir, who finished second in the riding and then had the fastest Laser Run to win with1,486 over Germany’s Annika Schleu and Dogue (1,470).

Next up is the World Cup Final, starting on 27 June in Tokyo (JPN) with qualification places for the 2020 Games will be at stake. Summaries:

UIPM World Cup
Prague (CZE) ~ 22-27 May 2019
(Full results here)

Men: 1. Aleksander Lesun (RUS), 1,489; 2. Joseph Choong (GBR), 1,481; 3. Marvin Dogue (GER), 1,480; 4. Kirill Belyakov (RUS), 1,478; 5. Valentin Prades (FRA), 1,465.

Women: 1. Kate French (GBR), 1,391; 2. Gulnaz Gubaydullina (RUS), 1,377; 3. Jessica Varley (GBR), 1,356; 4. Sunwoo Kim (KOR), 1,353; 5. Marie Oteiza (FRA), 1,352.

Mixed Relay: 1. Samuel Curry/Joanna Muir (GBR), 1,486; 2. Annika Schleu/Marvin Dogue (GER), 1,470; 3. Salma Abdelmaksoud/Mohanad Shaban (EGY), 1,461; 4. Sun-Woo Kim/Soeng-Jin Kim (KOR), 1,452; 5. Kseniia Fraltsova/Viacheslav Bardyshev (RUS), 1,447. Also: 10. Tyler Evans/Sam Achterberg (USA), 1,410.