Joseph Choong claims UIPM World Cup Final to secure Olympic berth

British modern pentathlete outsprints Germany's Marvin Dogue in Tokyo 2020 test event with Rio champion Aleksander Lesun only seventh.

Joseph Choong produced a power-packed sprint finish to take the UIPM Pentathlon World Cup Final in Tokyo on Saturday (29th June).

The win saw him secure a place at next year's Olympic Games where he will hope to improve on his 10th at Rio four years ago.

"It feels amazing. In the early stages, I just wanted to stay in contention, knowing that when it came to the last lap I would back myself as I have done all season." - Joseph Choong after winning the UIPM Pentathlon World Cup Final

"I think I had eight or nine shots in the final shoot and my average this season has been 5.2, so I was actually quite disappointed. But it all came good in the end."

The 24-year-old got the better of Germany's Marvin Dogue in the test event for Tokyo 2020 at Musashino Forest Sports Plaza and AGF Field.

Li Shuhuan of China was third with defending Olympic champion Aleksander Lesun only seventh having led going into the closing event, the Laser Run.

Choong surges to victory

Ukraine's Rio silver medallist Pavlo Tymoschenko led the field after the swimming and fencing legs, but Lesun moved to the front after the riding.

The Russian took a 15-second lead into the Laser Run with Choong leading the chasing pack as the rain poured down.

Marvin Dogue and elder brother Patrick both moved into contention, and Lesun's lead disappeared as he struggled badly on his third trip to the shooting range.

After the fourth and final shoot, it was Marvin Dogue who got away first.

But Choong had left a little in reserve for the final 800m, and he outsprinted Dogue to claim the biggest win of his career.

Joseph Choong wins the UIPM Pentathlon World Cup Final in Tokyo from Marvin Dogue
Joseph Choong wins the UIPM Pentathlon World Cup Final in Tokyo from Marvin DogueJoseph Choong wins the UIPM Pentathlon World Cup Final in Tokyo from Marvin Dogue

It was a repeat of the last event of the World Cup season proper where Choong took silver ahead of the 23-year-old German.

The Briton admitted, "I actually feel a bit sorry for Marvin because I did the same thing to him in Prague. But it feels so good to have the Olympic place."

It was another hard lesson for Dogue Jr who said, "I tried my best to push myself as hard as I can but I will have to keep working on my sprints, because this shouldn’t happen again."

Li produced a superb Laser Run, rising 15 places to claim his first medal at a senior UIPM competition.

The 22-year-old completed a youthful podium and said, "I am a very young athlete and this is my first time at the World Cup Final, and I am very happy."

UIPM World Cup Final Men's Podium (L-R): runner-up Marvin Dogue, winner Joseph Choong, third-placed Li Li Shuhuan
UIPM World Cup Final Men's Podium (L-R): runner-up Marvin Dogue, winner Joseph Choong, third-placed Li Li ShuhuanUIPM World Cup Final Men's Podium (L-R): runner-up Marvin Dogue, winner Joseph Choong, third-placed Li Li Shuhuan

More praise for Tokyo

After hot and humid conditions on Friday, the men had to cope with a sustained downpour on the Laser Run.

It was another test for the facility and the organisers, but one UIPM President Dr Klaus Schormann felt they handled perfectly well.

"Again, in the conditions the organising committee have done extremely well to organise spectators and a very special atmosphere in all disciplines. The athletes like this and so do we." - UIPM President Dr Klaus Schormann

He added. "It was a big surprise to see the Chinese athlete come from so far away to finish third. This is a big moment for our Union and it's good to have Asia on the podium."

The three-day test event concludes on Sunday (30th June) with the Mixed Relay.

London 2012 champion Laura Asadauskaite took the women's World Cup Final on Friday to ensure she would compete in Tokyo next year.

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