There is a compact silence in the hall at Fyrishov Sports Centre in Uppsala. The only sound you hear is the ball thumping on the floor as the contestants moving through the course. This is a one-man show for the athletes and it is important to have an aptitude to focus on the task at hand – to be the fastest competitor through the obstacle course as well as getting the highest score in the penalty throws.
The ball contest was originally part of an escape competition with several obstacles to test the vital skills of the fighter pilot, such as accuracy, situational awareness and co-ordination skills. Johan Arvidsson from Sweden was very pleased with his performance, which rendered him third place in today’s competition.
– This was my best performance so far. Before today I was hoping for a good result and I couldn’t have done any better, he says. I had all the lucky breaks and was able to focus on the penalty throws.
Today’s results bring a seemingly unexpected advantage to Johan Arvidsson.
– My roommate and I have a bet – the one who performs the best gets to sleep in the bed that night, the other one takes the sofa-bed, he laughs.
Three of the four Turkish team-members finished among the top-ten contestants in an event that would suit the Turks well, as basketball is one of the most popular sports in the country. Yiğit Özdemir, 4th year student in the Turkish Air Force Officers Academy, came second.
– I did OK today, says Yiğit, but I usually run the obstacle course a couple of seconds faster than this. However, I’m quite pleased with scoring 16 out of 20 – the penalty throw is the hardest part.
It is not an easy thing to get accepted to the Turkish Aeronautical Pentathlon team. In tight competition, fifty cadets try out at the Air Force Officers Academy in Istanbul. Ten are selected to begin training and are then scrutinized by the team coach and hand-picked for the national team to represent their country.
Yiğit Özdemir is looking forward to the race on Saturday and has a fitting name for the two events – the obstacle course and the orienteering. His first name means “brave” and his family name “pure iron”.
Outstanding dexterity by Rosenlund
Johan Arvidsson from Sweden wasn’t the only pentathlete performing well in the ball contest. Ville Rosenlund from Finland, the overall leader after three events, reached a higher score than in last year’s championship.
After Friday’s competition he was thrilled.
– I was in the zone today, that’s why I was able to improve my results from last year, he says with a grin.