Two Kazakh athletes stand out at modern pentathlon world cup in Cairo

Kazakh athletes Pavel Ilyashenko and Elena Potapenko placed 15th and 19th respectively at the International Union of Modern Pentathlon World Cup March 21-27 in Cairo.

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Kazakhstan, which sent eight athletes, was among 26 countries that participated. In addition to Ilyashenko and Potapenko, the Kazakh delegation included Ardak Akhidullayeva, Igor Sozinov, Vladislav Sukharev, Artem Drobotov, Fariza Orumbekova, and Yerkezhan Sabyrbaikyzy. The team was coached by Yelena Akhmetova, Sergiy Turobov, Vladimir Belykh, Sergey Kolegov, and Oksana Dmitriyenko.

In the men’s competition, Ilyashenko and Sukharev ended in the 15th and the 34th places, respectively. Potapenko let the women with her 19th place finish in the competition at Cairo International Stadium.

In the team-relay mixed competition, Potapenko and Ilyashenko performed well, finishing sixth.

Of the team’s performance, Coach Akhmetova told The Astana Times, “I expected, or let’s say hoped for, a better performance from the team. However, I must say that Akhidullayeva, Drobotov, Orumbekova and Sabyrbaikyzy are young players who were exposed for the first time to such a big championship. … These four players participated in championships, but this was their first big event.”

Akhmetova said modern pentathlon is popular in Kazakhstan. “If we compare the status of modern pentathlon in Kazakhstan with its status in other countries, we will see that the sport is widely spread in Kazakhstan.”

That popularity is helped by the Kazakh modern pentathlon league, which attracts young athletes. “Supporting the players at a young age, is an important mean to improve and develop the sport,” she said.

The Kazakh modern pentathlon team will face difficult challenges ahead, including competing in the Youth World Cup in August in Hungary and the Asian Championship in October in Tokyo.