China, represented by 2009 World Champion Qian Chen, Yihua Miao and Wenjing Zhu stormed from 7th position ahead of the combined event to clinch silver, just ahead of a fast finishing Katy Livingston of Great Britain and her teammates Katy Burke and Kate French.
Germany, was always in contention throughout the day, finishing 2nd in the fencing and 5th in the swimming which were both won by a dominant Korea. A nervous ride meant they dropped back to 3rd ahead of the combined event.
At the middle stage of the combined run & shoot, Korea enjoyed a 20 second lead over the Germans who quickly moved to 2nd. It was not until Kohlmann’s inspired final run and the pure class of Schoneborn that the 20 second deflect turned into a 10 second lead, a lead that the German’s never surrounded.
“I had to run very hard to win as I did not know how fast Chen was” stated the Olympic Champion. “We are a very strong team, all 3 of us have had a good year. We had so much fun today, especially in fencing which is not normally the case. We are all very thrilled to win the first gold of the championships and to do one better than our silver last year” concluded Schoneborn.
The youngest member of the Chinese team, 19 year old Yihua Miao was in shock after winning silver: “This was unexpected, we did not think we had a chance starting from 7th position in the combined event. However with Qian (Chen) who is my hero being in the team it made me feel fearless. It gave me so much more confidence knowing that she was there urging me on.”
Great Britain showed just how strong their women’s team was winning bronze with their ‘B’ team. The team dubbed ‘Team Katy’ stated: “We are really happy, we started the day in 8th after the fence and we slowly moved up and up and up throughout the day. Livingston left the final shoot in 5th position, however she was never going to let that medal go: “Running is my favourite and best event so I just went for it and luckily it was enough” said the Beijing Olympian.
Despite Korea having a commanding lead going into the 2nd half of the combined they dropped way back to 8th position. An Anastaysia Prokopenko inspired Belarus made their way up to 4th and the 2010 & 2011 Women’s Relay Champions Russia & Hungary finished 5th and 6th respectively.
The Women’s Relay was the first event in the 7 day 52nd Modern Pentathlon World Championships. Next up is the Men’s relay tomorrow, with the individual finals being held on Saturday and Sunday.