LIMA, PERU – Amro Elgeziry was aiming for a medal in the men’s individual modern pentathlon final at the Pan American Games Lima 2019. What he got instead, rather, was a trip to Tokyo.
With a fifth-place finish, Elgeziry earned a trip to his fourth-straight Olympic Games but his first for Team USA. The 32-year-old smiled as he crossed the finish line, securing the final qualification spot available for North and Central American athletes. Moments after, he ran to kiss his wife, fellow American Olympic modern pentathlete, Isabella Isaksen.
“It feels so great,” Elgeziry said. “It never gets old. The first or fourth time it’s always exciting. I’m very happy. It was a very successful day. Mission accomplished.”
Elgeziry, a native of Cairo, Egypt, has competed three times at the Games for his native country. He was in seventh entering competition on Sunday after securing a 21-10 record in the early fencing rounds on Friday. The approximate 48-hour wait he endured to complete the other portions of the event failed to ruin his focus. This was illustrated by his swimming performance early Sunday morning.
Elgeziry, who holds the Olympic record in the swimming portion of this event, was the only athlete to complete the swim in under two minutes. He placed first overall with a 200-meter swim time of 1:58.02. The next closest competitor, Guatemala’s Charles Fernandez, finished over four seconds behind him.
“I came from a swimming background,” Elgeziry said. “I’ve always been good at swimming. It’s one of my good events. I always count on it. I got a good lead, and it helped me towards the end of the day.”
The swim helped him climb up to second before the bonus fencing round, where athletes attempt to win consecutive duels to shave precious seconds off their laser-run handicap time.
Elgeziry managed to pick up one victory, a swift touch to the torso of Brazil’s Danilo de Moraes Fagundes, to eliminate a second on his handicap time. He was then defeated by Fernandez, who ended up winning six consecutive bouts, more than any athlete.
Sitting two total points behind Fernandez, Elgeziry climbed on his assigned horse and entered the jumping course. After hitting the first gate, he rode his horse, Raction, smoothly through the rest of the course. His total score of 289 for the ride was the fifth best of the event. He slipped down to the No. 3 seed as he entered the final event of the modern pentathlon, the laser-run. However, thanks to his bonus fencing round, his handicap time was only five seconds.
When released from the starting line, Elgeziry sprinted toward his first series of targets. He started sharply, hitting four of five targets on the first try. But as he ran his first lap and reentered the range, his accuracy fell. His struggles continued on the third series. In both sets, it appeared as if the third of the five targets was the issue. Nonetheless, he remained poised, and regained confidence on the final series.
“I was just focusing on what I needed to do, just let it go,” he said of the second series. “I still had two more shootings and two more 800-meter [laps] so a lot [could] happen. I just stayed focused and got it done.”
Elgeziry added that the run helped him keep his composure between each series.
“It’s pretty tough because you can be with other people,” he said. “So I can see what’s going on. I try to focus on what I’m doing right at the moment. I focused on the run. I pushed a little bit so I can catch up for what I missed.”