The 24 year old easily beat David Svoboda (CZE) who grabbed silver and a fast finishing Federicio Giancamilli (ITA) bronze capped off a perfect day for the Italian athletes and public.
Petroni started the day in promising fashion coming 2nd in the fencing. A 2nd place in the swim together with a near flawless ride when his competitors faulted meant a 16 second lead in the combined event for the young Italian. This lead only grew as the Petroni shot brilliantly and ran even better to stroll to his 1st international medal in front of a fanatical, patriotic crowd.
An ecstatic Pertoni stated after: “At the start of the day you never know what is going to happen in Pentathlon so I knew I was in with a chance. To win my 1st international gold medal in front of so many warm Italian fans is a dream come true, the atmosphere in the city centre was electric. The €8,000 prize money makes it even more special I now can’t wait for the 2012 Olympic year as I am now filled with confidence.
The 2010 European Champion Svoboda believes this silver medal makes up for a disappointing 2011: “I am very happy to be back on the winner’s podium. My head was clear today and I was very relaxed, which was not the case at the European and World Championships this year. I did everything well which is needed to win an international Pentathlon medal. Running between all the spectators in the street was an amazing experience, one I will never forget.”
Giancamilli had his shooting to thank for his bronze medal: “I was very happy with my shooting, I did not miss one shot. This was the factor which allowed me to move from 6th place to 3rd in the combined. I thought my terrible ride ruined my chances at a medal today, so I am very happy to end up with bronze. This was my 1st senior medal since 2009. I don’t think I could have done it without all the Italian fans cheering me along, this gave me so much energy to run faster and faster!”
The story of the combined event was Egyptian Yasser Hefney’s extraordinary last 1000 metres run which moved him from 8th to 4th. The African Champion stated after: “I just closed my mind and ran. I would have died before I let anyone overtake me, I gave it everything and it was worth it.”
UIPM President Dr h.c. Klaus Schormann stated: "Thank you to the Italian Federation for organising such a brilliant event at short notice. This was a true spectacle for the sport and one the athletes, officials and fans will never forget.
The combined event in the city centre, at night time was a treat to all. This has now got the Italian public excited for the 2012 Modern Pentathlon World Championships in Rome next year." Continued President Schormann
A spectacular closing ceremony of aerial acrobatics was watched by thousands closed a very successful 1st edition of the new format of the Champion of Champions.