Elgendy victory sees Egypt unbeaten in the pentathlon individual events
After Salma Abdelmaksoud’s success in the women’s event a day earlier, compatriot Ahmed Elgendy earned Egypt a second modern pentathlon title on Sunday 14 October at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018. The current Junior and Youth World Champion added the YOG title to his collection thanks to a powerful performance in the men’s individual laser-run. Russia’s Egor Gromadskiii had to settle for silver and Frenchman Ugo Fleurot bronze.
Second after the fencing round (18 wins for 5 losses) and in the 200m freestyle (2.01.95), Elgendy took control in the fencing bonus round before jumping 11 seconds ahead of his closest competitor in the laser race.
Elgendy only registered the sixth fastest time of the last race, but he did enough to fend off his closest rivals, winning with a total of 1179 points, 20 points more than Gromadskiii. Fleurot finished with 1144 points after registering the second-fastest time in the laser race. The fastest time in the combined race-shooting came from Portugal’s Eduardo Olivera, who finished fourth overall.
Elgendy’s victory completed a resounding doubled for Egypt in the modern pentathlon individual events. And it is perhaps not over for them, too since the two pentathletes are in action again on October 16 in the international mixed team competition.
Elsewhere in the competition, there was heartbreak for German pentathlete Pele Uibel who missed out on a medal in the last 100 metres for the second time in only four months.
Little more than four months ago, on 10 June, Germany’s Pele Uibel finished agonisingly outside of the medals at the modern pentathlon U19 European Championships. On Sunday, history repeated itself as he missed out once again.
“Today I don’t love pentathlon anymore,” a desolate Uibel said after crossing the finish line within touching distance of bronze medallist Fleurot. “Maybe tomorrow I will again, and then I’ll come back even stronger.”
The German found himself in seventh place before the laser-run, the last event of modern pentathlon’s four on the Youth Olympic programme. But thanks to a good start he quickly put himself in a position to battle it out for a podium finish.
“I started further back and I knew it was a strong field, but I had a good race especially in the first two laps (of a total four),” he said. “I kind of lost concentration in the last shooting (he missed three shots), as I was very tired because I gave it all during those two first laps to come back.”
After the last shooting series Uibel was still in front of Fleurot, but close to the end things went heartbreakingly wrong for the 18-year-old.
“He (Fleurot) had the advantage to stay behind me in the last lap and could run in my shadow without the wind,” he said. “In the last 100 metres he overtook me and I knew I couldn’t make it any more.
“I just felt terrible over the finish line, I couldn’t really believe that it happened again.”
Uibel’s resentment did not last long. He knows well what it takes to succeed in the multi-disciplined modern pentathlon.
“I wouldn’t say that I’m not happy with the guy who took bronze instead of me,” he said. “I’m always very happy for the medal winners because it’s not a coincidence. I know that they worked hard to get there and that is why I’m happy for them.
“In pentathlon we endure so many challenges, hardships, and tough competitions that in the end you have to be friends with everyone or you wouldn’t be here.”
Despite operating at the elite end of the sport, modern pentathlon for Uibel is not all about gruelling competitions and one-track minds craving medals at all costs.
“I’ve got a lot of friends in this sport,” the German said. “Lots of them come to Berlin to training camps, we all go out for a drink or dinner together, we are all friends.
“Right now I am not so sure of loving pentathlon any more, but looking back at the past two weeks of preparation, being here in Buenos Aires was an amazing experience. I wouldn’t have it without pentathlon and it’s because of pentathlon that I’m here. I just have to be thankful.”
Modern pentathlon action at Buenos Aires 2018 continues with the team fencing ranking round on Monday at the Africa Pavilion in Youth Olympic Park.