The pair of Ganna Buriak and Oleksander Mordasov stormed to victory to create history ahead of Russia represented by Svetlana Lebedeva and Maxim Kuznetsov with Ye Zhang and Zhongrog Cao holding on for bronze.
Ukraine did not have bad event, which is essential for gold at this level. The duo finished 4th in the fence, 6th in the swim and only 3 rails down in the ride which meant they started 3rd in the combined event. Near perfect shooting by Buriak who was a last minute replacement for Anastaysia Spas and powerful running meant that the mixed relay gold again is going back to Kiev.
“In the last shoot I came in next to the Russian team. I just had to think of my own shooting. It worked well as I left 1st. I was always nervous that he would catch me, I did not know until the last 400m that we were going to win” stated Mordasov.
The female half of the team Buriak: “We had a lot of pressure on us at the start of the day, as everyone wanted us to repeat the feat of Viktoria Tereshuk and Dmytro Kirpulyanskyy of 2011. I knew we had a chance as Olek (Mordasov) is such a good athlete and I love competing with him, but I am still in shock.”
The Russian pair was speechless after winning the silver medal. “This is every Pentathletes dream to be on the podium at the World Championships” said Kuznetsov. “I thought I could catch the Ukrainian team in the last 1000m, but I did not have enough energy in my legs and he was too quick” continued the Russian.
31 year old Cao, who is affectingly known as Uncle Cao to his team mates said after winning the 2nd medal for China at these champions said: “We cooperated very well with each other today. This is Ye’s (Zhang) first World Championships medal so she is ecstatic.”
“Uncle Cao is such a great teacher, I look up to him a lot and I could not be happier to win a gold medal with him” added the 22 year old Zhang.
The Czech Republic, who started 1st in the combined event dropped back to 4th sport ahead of Germany and the USA.
The UIPM President Dr h.c. Klauus Schormann stated after the successful event: “The Mixed Relay 1st made its international debut at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games and has gone from strength to strength due to its dynamic exciting format. Due to this, we are pushing for its inclusion into the 2016 Olympic Games. The format promotes gender equality and is a great opportunity for smaller nations to submit athletes to compete on the world’s biggest Modern Pentathlon stage.”
The Mixed Relay was the 3rd event in the 7 day 52nd Modern Pentathlon World Championships. Next up is the Women’s qualification as they look to qualify for the all-important individual finals on Saturday.