Italy’s 2012 European Champion Riccardo de Luca looked inspired today with an impressive display of speed and calmness under pressure in the combined run/shoot putting him on his way to winning gold at World Cup #2 in the Egyptian capital Cairo.
It was neck and neck throughout the final discipline of the day at the Police Academy, where the event was being held. De Luca was imperious in the last round of shooting at the range, keeping his nerve when he needed to most and from there he was unstoppable him as he raced towards the finish line to take his first title since that triumph in the Europeans.
Christopher Patte of France, who had looked strong as he jostled for position with the tall Italian, missed a couple of crucial shots at the range and gave himself too much to do in the final 800m and he had to settle for silver.
De Luca was delighted with his performance, declaring, “This victory comes as a result of the work done by my team and my coaches. We have been doing all the right things. Now I am very happy”.
The performance of the day however has to be that of the Czech Republic’s Jan Kuf with the 22-year-old taking a stunning bronze. He told us, “It’s awesome, I never expected to do so well. The fence was good, swim good, I had a good horse. But the combined, I cannot believe how well it went. My shooting was almost perfect and I was running fast. I feel great right now.”
The first discipline of the day had seen Ukraine’s Dmytro Kirpulyanskyy make his mark as he looked inspired with the epee, using his height to great advantage as time and time again he found a way through the defences of his opponents. The doctor by profession claimed 23 victories and 238 points to top the table going into the swim. He was looking on course for a medal but came unstuck at the range in the last two rounds of shooting and ended his campaign sixth overall. It was a good day for Ukraine as Ruslan Nakonechnyi and Pavlo Tymoshchenko finished fourth and fifth respectively.
France’s victor at Champion of Champion last season Christopher Patte more than deserved his silver after starting his day with a quality display in the fence after pulling out all the stops to win several important bouts when he needed to most.
Home crowd favourite Amro El Geziry predictably had won the swim with a sensational time of 1:58.25 and after he’d scored a perfect 300 in the equestrian event, began the combined 22 seconds ahead of the pack. Again however he struggled to find his aim with his pistol and ended the day 14th overall.
French pair Valentin Belaud and Valentin Prades took 7th and 8th places but it could have been so different for World No.2 Prades as he found himself third overall coming into the final shoot at the range. The performance of these two ensured France went away with the team trophy.
Thomas Daniel from Austria, who had struggled for form after suffering a serious shoulder injury and just made the Final cut in qualifying, impressed as he came fifth in the fence before coming home ninth overall. Eslam Hamad of Egypt completed the top 10.