Two-days of stunning modern pentathlon at the Al Shaqab Centre in Doha ensured this edition of Champion of Champions hosted by Qatar Foundation in cooperation with Qatar Olympic Committee will live long in the memory. Saturday saw the women compete with Margaux Isaksen of USA defending her title with panache whilst France’s Christopher Patte claimed his maiden career victory by winning the men’s event on Sunday.
French 23-year-old Christopher Patte capped a sensational day after a quality swim was followed by a perfect ride to start the final event in pole. With an 8-second head start on his nearest rival, he was simply unstoppable in the combined, never relinquishing his lead to claim a well-deserved victory. Winning the morning round robin fence and topping the charts before the ride, the man in form had the best possible platform with which to go on to take victory. Demonstrating both speed and poise, he was overjoyed at the finish, declaring, “I am so happy, to win here is just unbelievable for me. I cannot describe the emotion.” When asked about the facilities, he said, “Absolutely the best I have ever seen. Everything was top class”.
Having started the women’s combined in fourth position, Margaux Isaksen was composed with her shooting and after taking the lead in the penultimate 800m lap, she accelerated and demonstrated her blistering pace to leave her pursuers no chance. The 22-year-old also going home with the 3000 USD winner’s cheque, courtesy of RAM Watches, and telling us, “I came to Qatar very relaxed. There was no pressure on me and that played a big part in my performance. The fantastic facilities, the amazing horses and the morning out ‘dune bashing’ made it so enjoyable.”
One of the great success stories in the men’s was Jose Figueroa of Cuba finishing second. The 22-year-old had qualified after winning the NORCECA Championships in July, and impressed in the ladder fence, winning three bouts before a maximum points in the ride put him third on the combined starting line. His compatriot, the 2010 Youth Olympic Champion Leidis Laura Moya ended her campaign in the women’s event 12th.
Belarus’ Stanislou Zhurauliou came third in the men’s after being the model of consistency in each discipline. It now looks like the fireman will be a real threat next season. Pavlo Tymoshchenko of Ukraine was fourth overall in Doha, after a strong showing in the combined, whilst World Champion Justinas Kinderis was fifth.
Another great story in the men’s was seeing France’s Valentin Prades and Valentin Belaud cross the finish line hand in hand with their teammate Jean-Maxcence Berrou, who was making his farewell appearance on the international circuit with the 28-year-old retiring to take up a coaching role.
In the women’s, Poland’s Oktawia Nowacka recorded her best career performance at the elite level with her first international podium place. She could not hide her delight at the finish line and beamed, “I cannot believe this. I am so happy. What a great competition, I cannot wait to come back.” Yane Marques of Brazil, who began the combined first, ended her day third after being unable to match the speed of the front two in the women’s combined on Saturday. The result confirming her return to form, ending her season on a high with a third successive podium finish.
Germany’s Annika Schleu was fourth overall after running third fastest in the women’s final event with Melanie McCann from Canada making up the top five.
UIPM President Dr h. c. Klaus Schormann declared, “This competition has been hugely successful with Qatar Foundation, Qatar Olympic Committee and the whole Organising Committee creating a great experience for the athletes. It was the first time modern pentathlon was in Qatar and we hope that it will be the first of many more to come. Great facilities, the best in the world, have made for a great show and I want to thank everyone involved for making this really unforgettable for us.”
The award ceremony of the men’s marked the end of a thrilling 2013 season. With so much quality and with so much talent coming through the ranks, 2014 now promises to be even more spectacular.
Men’s final standings
Women’s final standings