Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, 1 June 2013 - Some unbelievable shooting from Valentin Prades saw the Frenchman claim his maiden career title with gold at the 2013 UIPM World Cup Series Final. A sumptuous display of poise and finesse in the combined ensured the 20-year-old, who started the ultimate event a second ahead of his rivals, crossed the finished line with enough time to take in a career defining moment.
Cool, calm and composed throughout the day, the rising star of French modern pentathlon had come second in the morning fence with 25 victories from 35 bouts, placed 22nd in the pool and then capitalised on Russia's Ilia Frolov's slip-up in the riding event to move into pole position with one event to go. In the combined, his near-flawless shooting gave him the perfect platform with which to win the title.
Prades told us, "I am just so happy, no words can describe how I feel. I hope that this is the start of something special for me in my career. My teammates and I are all young and hungry, we really believe that we are going to bring a new era of success to our country."
From fifth on the starting grid, Lithuania's Justinas Kinderis surprised everyone to speed past his rivals and claim an unexpected silver medal. Underestimated by those around him, the 26-year-old shot with perfect accuracy and his strong running saw him earn his first podium finish in over two years.
The most impressive performance in the combined event came from Hungary's Adam Marosi after the World No.1 came from sixteenth position to finish third and take bronze. He had started the day with some underwhelming fencing and placed 31st in that discipline so had a lot of work to do to get back in contention.
He managed to stay within touching distance of the leading pack after coming sixth in the swim and fifth in the ride. He then set a blistering pace in the combined with the fastest time, clocked at 10:49:90, and was screaming with utter delight after crossing the finish line, it was some result from so far back on the grid.
Russia just missed out on a medal as Ilia Frolov finished fourth. The experienced campaigner had looked on course to bring glory to the home nation with victory in the fencing and a good time in the pool but too many penalties on the horse saw his lead overhauled by the eventual winner. Unable to cope with the speed of Kinderis, he was also overtaken in the final round of shooting by Marosi.
Peter Tibolya from Hungary finished fifth whilst the British duo of Jamie Cooke and Joe Evans ended the day sixth and seventh respectively.
The day's fastest swimmer, Egypt's Amro El Geziry, was 14th with former World No.1 Aleksandr Lesun from Russia ending a miserable campaign 20th. Olympic Champion David Svoboda continues to look a shadow of himself and was 24th.