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Super heroes
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 19 - 04 - 2018

Egypt dominated the world championships with three gold, two silver and three bronze medals, four more than nearest rivals Italy and China. France won two and there was a single medal for Hungary, Korea and Russia.
The gold medals were won by Ahmed Al-Gendi in the individual competition, the men's team and the mixed relay competition which saw the duo of Al-Gendi and Salma Abdel-Maqsoud.
The silver medals went to Mohaned Shaaban in the men's individual event and the women's team event.
The bronze medals were captured by Alyedin Sweilam in the men's individual event and the women's team relay of Mariam Amer and Amira Qandil. The third bronze went to the men's relay team of Shaaban and Sweilam.
The young Egyptians had displayed confident performances at the UIPM 2018 Under 19 Tetrathlon World Championships. Their remarkable performances reflected the strong form the Egyptians had shown throughout the one-week event in Portugal where the biggest-ever gathering of teenage pentathletes had assembled for this particular tournament with more than 220 athletes.
Modern pentathlon
Al-Gendi of Egypt was crowned the men's individual champion and was surrounded by familiar faces on the podium. In an extraordinary clean sweep, Egypt won all three medals of the men's individual competition as Shaaban and Sweilam claimed silver and bronze respectively.
The result demonstrated that Egypt's production line of pentathlon talent is as strong as ever. All three medalists finished in the top six of both fencing and laser-run.
“We are really proud of our athletes. This is an unprecedented achievement especially on the junior level, which proves that our strategy has worked well,” said Egyptian Modern Pentathlon Federation President Sherif Al-Erian.
“I believe we are at our peak now and we are looking forward to the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina in October. We will be working very hard in order to make a similar appearance on the Olympic podium this time.
“This generation is also our hope for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020,” Al-Erian said.
Modern pentathlon
The contest for gold was not especially close, as Al-Gendi crossed the line with a winning margin of 27sec. Mohanad beat Sweilam by five seconds and the man in fourth place, Ugo Fleurot of France, was a further five seconds behind.
Jozsef Tamas of Hungary came home in fifth and Uladzislau Astrouski of Belarus was one place further back.
“It was hard but I'm so happy and I can't believe I've done it,” new champion Al-Gendi told the UIPM official website following his victory. “Last year I got silver at the U-19 World Championships and now I have gold, so it's a huge day for me. I think my fencing has been improving very well and it gave me self-confidence. I'm so excited to be going to the Youth Olympic Games. My team deserved this success because they trained very well and very hard,” said Al-Gendi who has competed in three senior World Cups.
Inevitably, Egypt won team gold ahead of silver medalists Hungary, with France completing the podium.
“Today is really the greatest day of my life,” said Egypt's Awad Sami, one of the sport's most experienced coaches. “I've been in the pentathlon for 37 years and I've joined my team at so many different competitions but today was the biggest moment we ever had.
“For the first time, Egypt has finished one, two and three in a competition, an amazing performance – really it was our day today,” Sami added.
Egypt secured their third gold medal as Abdel-Maqsoud and Ahmed Al-Gendi claimed victory in the mixed relay.
The silver medal went to France's Emma Riff and Ugo Fleurot while Russia's Luliia Sergeeva and Oleg Kupriyanov claimed bronze in the concluding final of the championships, which was contested by 20 nations.
For Egypt's Al-Gendi, it sealed a fantastic championships as he added a third title to his men's individual crown and team gold, and made sure his country matched the achievement of Italy in winning triple gold.
“I am so happy with this medal, and thank you to Ahmed. It was a great competition and thank you to the coaches. I have worked hard to be at this level now,” Abdel-Maqsoud told UIPM media.
Teammate Al-Gendi added: “I think the best performance was our laser-run. I ran hard and we increased the gap from second place because of our running, and we are so happy about that. It's a very interesting event. I like to play the mixed relay and it increased my medals in this competition.”
In the men's relay, the bronze medal went to 2017 champions Sweilam and Shaaban who showed great determination to deny Hungary (Csaba Bohm & Balint Katona) a prize for their efforts.

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