Elena Micheli and Joseph Choong celebrate winning the women's and men's individual titles on the penultimate day of the UIPM World Championships ©UIPM

Elena Micheli and Joseph Choong retained their individual titles on the penultimate day of action at the International Modern Pentathlon Union Modern Pentathlon World Championships in Bath.

In the women’s final, Micheli of Italy finished top with 1,429 points, and she ensured she would keep hold of the crown by breaking away in the laser run and securing gold by nine seconds.

Micheli is the first woman to retain an individual world title since France’s Amelie Caze in 2008.

Silver went to her compatriot Alice Sotero, who won women’s individual gold at the European Games in Krakow in June.

Sotero finished with 1,420 points, with first place finishes in swimming in a time of 2min 08.63sec and the laser run in 11:00.10, not quite enough to overhaul Micheli.

The podium was completed by Britain’s Kerenza Bryson with 1,419 points, who finished second in fencing with 21 wins and 236 points and third in laser run in 11:09.80.

Paris 2024 quota places were available to any top-three finishers who had not already earned one.

Micheli and Sotero had already earned quota spots for Italy, however Bryson’s third place secured Britain a second quota spot as next year’s Olympic Games.

Joseph Choong's greater accuracy in the shooting proved the difference as he beat Emiliano Hernandez to win the men's final ©Getty Images
Joseph Choong's greater accuracy in the shooting proved the difference as he beat Emiliano Hernandez to win the men's final ©Getty Images

Speaking after her win Micheli said: “I’m really excited and don’t have the words to explain because, in a way, I wasn’t ready for this.

“It has been a surprise for me because it’s not so simple to confirm yourself in another World Championships.

“One way or another, last year it happened and it happened again right now.”

In the men’s final, Olympic champion Choong of Britain, who finished ninth in his semi-final and only advanced to the final by a second, triumphed despite being pushed hard by Emiliano Hernandez of Mexico.

Hernandez started the laser run 10 seconds behind Choong but outpaced him on each lap, however Choong’s greater accuracy in shooting proved the difference, as he finished with 1,523 points compared to Hernandez’s 1,518.

Choong is the first athlete to retain a men’s individual world title since France’s Sebastien Deleigne achieved the feat in 1998.

Hernandez’s second-place finish was enough to secure a Paris 2024 quota spot for Mexico, with Choong having already done so for Britain.

The men’s podium was completed by 2023 Pentathlon World Cup Final winner Mohanad Shaban of Egypt on 1,514 points, with fellow Egyptians brothers Ahmed and Mohamed Elgendy finishing in fourth and fifth respectively.

Reflecting on his win Choong said: “I definitely didn’t have it under control from the start.

“To be honest, about three weeks ago I wasn’t sure if I would be competing.

“I tore my calf five weeks ago and had a rocky build-up.

“So I’m absolutely speechless that I ended up winning this competition.”

The women’s team title went to Italy, with Britain winning silver and bronze going to Hungary, while in the men’s team event Egypt took gold, with silver going to Britain and South Korea claiming the bronze.

Action is due to conclude tomorrow at the University of Bath with the mixed relay final.