Nicola Benedetti (ITA) has produced an unbelievable combined event to win his first gold medal at World Cup #3 in Szazhalombatta, Hungary.
The tall Italian sped past double Olympic Champion Andrei Moiseev (RUS) who showed his class to win silver and Peter Tibolya (HUN) thrilled his local crowd to win his first World Cup medal of his career.
Benedetti who lists the man he beat, Moiseev as his most inspiring person, started the day producing his best ever fencing performance to finish 3rd.
“I was very happy with my fencing performance and I think all my celebrations showed this” said Benedetti. A better than average swim, together with a near perfect ride meant an 8th place start in the combined event. This was enough to the fast Italian to speed past his rivals to clinch a very satisfying gold.
“I am very happy with this medal” said the 26 year old.
“I had the perfect day, I shot 10 from 10 in my first 2 shoots then 5 from 8 in the last which was enough. I knew I had won on the last lap as my running is very good. This medal means so much to me!”
The current Olympic, World and European Champion Moiseev well and truly made up for not making the World Cup #1 final to win his first World Cup medal since 2007. “I had some problems at World Cup #1, but I have rectified them now. I was very happy with all my results today, but I still made many little mistakes in the fencing (Moiseev still managed to win the fencing discipline) and shooting. I thought I could hold off Benedetti, but he was just too fast, silver is very good though.”
Tibolya become an instant national hero by snatching bronze: “This first World Cup medal is very important to me and it means much more to win it in front of my family and friends in a good atmosphere. The key for me today was my fencing, where everything went my way.
“I was desperately trying to keep up with him (Moiseev), but my running is still not the best after I injured my foot in Rio. At the end I don’t mind, bronze is a fantastic result for me.”
3 time Olympic Game veteran Denis Cerkovskis (LAT) produced his best performance since winning this event in 2009 to finish 4th, just ahead of David Svoboda (CZE) who showed glimpses of his top form which won him gold at this event 12 months ago.
The World Cup Series now heads to Rostov, Russia for World Cup #4 starting next Thursday 19 April 2012. This will be the last chance for the Pentathletes to qualify for the crucial World Cup Final in Chengdu, China.