Spain’s Laura Heredia and Italy’s Giorgio Malan won gold on a fantastic opening day of competition at the 2016 Modern Pentathlon Youth B European Championships hosted by Pentathlon GB in Solihull yesterday (Saturday 27th August).
87 athletes from 17 nations competed in the individual competitions with Hungary’s Michelle Gulyas and Italy’s Maria Lea Lopez claiming silver and bronze respectively behind Heredia in the girls’ competition. Meanwhile, in the boys’ event, Hungary’s David Soponyai took silver with Great Britain’s James Wilton securing bronze.
It was a hugely successful day for both Hungary and Italy with the Italians winning gold in the girls’ team event ahead of their Hungarian counterparts with the British trio taking bronze. In the boys’ team competition, the roles were reversed as Hungary took gold ahead of Italy with France in the bronze medal position.
The day started with the opening ceremony with the Championships officially opened by the Mayor of Solihull, Mike Robinson and Pentathlon GB Chief Executive Officer Danielle Every.
The event format is a modern triathlon; a 200m freestyle swim followed by a combined run shoot.
The morning saw 12 heats of swimming – 6 girls and 6 boys – with 4 combined event heats – 2 girls and 2 boys – following in the afternoon.
In the girls’ event, Hungary’s Michelle Gulyas recorded the quickest time of 2:10.71 in the swim. This was just over half a second quicker than Russia’s Ekaterina Galukhina (2:11.27) with Hungarian teammate Rebeka Peter 3rd quickest in 2:12.72.
However, Heredia produced a sublime combined event, 20 seconds quicker than anyone else in the field, to take gold ahead of Gulyas and Lopez. Russia’s Viktoriia Novikova moved from 28th to 7th with the 2nd quickest combined event time with Lopez the 3rd quickest athlete in the run-shoot.
In the overall standings, Italy’s Beatrice Mercuri finished 4th ahead of Hungary’s Borbala Sarcia. Emma Whitaker was the top Brit in 6th ahead of Novikova, the Czech Republic’s Veronika Novotna and the second Russian athlete, Maria Tsaregorodskaya. Belarus’ Katjarina Sukora rounded out the top 10.
This meant the Italian trio of Lopez, Merucri and Alice Rinaudo topped the team standings ahead of Hungary’s Gulayas, Peter and Anna Turbicz.
Great Britain’s Alex Bousfield finished 16th with Elizabeth Tolley 19th and Charlotte Cole 20th. It meant the pre-nominated British trio of Whitaker, Bousfield and Tolley took bronze in the team event, 5 points ahead of Russia in 4th.
In the boys’ competition, Great Britain’s Nick Laws was quickest in the swim with a scintillating short course (25m pool) time of 1:57.83 followed by Russia’s Egor Gromadskii in 2:00.08 and Malan in 2:00.89.
Germany’s Pele Uibel stunning combined event of 08:18.85, the quickest of the competition, moved him up to 6th in the overall standings with Russia’s Timofei Chuprinin 2nd fastest to move up to 7th. France’s Ugo Fleurot was 3rd quickest in the run-shoot, seeing him rise to 4th at the event’s conclusion, just 7 seconds off the podium.
However, Malan was 4th quickest in the combined event meaning his consistency across the 3 disciplines saw him take overall glory ahead of Soponyai and Wilton.
Fleurot was 4th ahead of Hungary’s Csaba Bohm, Uibel, Chuprin and Belarus’ Pavel Loutchenok. Hungarian pair Jozsef Tamas and Barnabas Horvath rounded out the top 10.
With all four athletes in the top 10, Hungary took team gold through the pre-nominated trio of Soponyai, Tamas and Horvath. Italy’s Malan, Riccardo Testamarta and Stefano Frezza took silver with France’s Fleurot, Thibault Fabre and Kylian Perrier in bronze.
Great Britain’s Tom Wilton finished in 18th with George Case 21st and Nick Laws 39th. It meant that James Wilton, Tom Wilton and Laws finished 8th in the team event.
Great Britain’s 2016 Olympian and current World number 2 and 2016 World Cup Final winner Jamie Cooke presented the athletes with their medals. Cooke spent time with many of the teams, inspiring the youngsters to continue their modern pentathlon journey.
Today (Sunday 28th August) is a rest day before the girls’, boys’ and mixed relays on Monday.
Report courtesy of Pentathlon GB