It is about finding the right balance between completing the obstacle course as fast as possible and at the same time find your footing on the hurdles to avoid slipping and getting penalties or – worst case – get injured before the orienteering event. Dragoş Jipa and Daniel Bâdicel from Romania describe how they plan ahead before it’s their turn.
– You have to be careful when it is this wet and rainy, says Dragoş Jipa. Just before I reach the balance hurdles I stretch my arms out to find my balance. If you don’t do it until you’re on the hurdle you risk slipping off.
When asked about Romania’s performance this week they answer unanimously:
– Maybe Romania doesn’t have such a strong team this year, but the championship is also an opportunity to form new connections and we have made many new friends this week.
The CISM motto ”Friendship through sport” is shown particularly well at the obstacle course. Everyone is cheering and supporting everyone regardless of who is currently struggling to get under, over or through the hurdles along the physically very challenging course.
Elise Jacobsen from Norway has to follow the event as a spectator.
– I’ve been ill so I could only participate in the shooting and swimming events, she says. But so far the Norwegian team has been successful. We were in the lead after the two first events on Wednesday and I hope we’ll have the chance to fight for third place, that’s our goal.
Kamil Kopač, pilot in the Czech air force is standing beside her, waiting for his turn to start. He is an experienced pentathlete and has been competing in aeronautical pentathlon for ten years.
– I’m on about the same level as I’ve been for a while now, he says. The shooting contest went really well this time, though. But it’s hard to get enough time to train when you work and have a family.
In the Czech Republic, aeronautical pentathlon is not a very big sport.
– There are about eight of us who compete regularly, says Kamil Kopač. On the other hand that means you stand a better chance to be picked out for the championships, he says jokingly. But I do hope we can recruit some new talents to the team in the future.
The second part of the escape event is the orienteering. The orienteering race starts two hours after the competitors have finished the obstacle course and are being bussed to the starting point. They set off with three-minute intervals and will not get the map until just before the start.
– The conditions of the different countries can vary a great deal, says Peter Carlsson, team captain for the Swedish team. In Scandinavia, orienteering is a huge sport and there are plenty of opportunities to train and race. But in some countries the sport hardly exists at all.
This is one of the factors that make aeronautical pentathlon an exciting sport for participants and spectators alike – the competition is never completed until all events are done and all contestants have crossed the finish line.