Ukraine one-two as Buriak claims second successive title
Budapest, Hungary, 11 May 2013 - The Women's Final at World Cup #4 lived up to its billing with a tightly contested combined event capping off a quality day of competition in Budapest, Hungary. Ganna Buriak confirmed Ukraine's dominance this season with her second triumph in a row, adding to her compatriot Victoria Tereshuk's gold in Palm Springs, USA, in the first World Cup Series event of the year.
Buriak's strong running and precise shooting put her on her way to another impressive performance. She had come second in the fencing event before finishing twelfth in the pool whilst her ninth position in the ride ensured she shared pole position in the combined.
Fast and accurate, Buriak was unstoppable on her way to gold. In this kind of form, she will be considered one of the outstanding candidates to win the World Cup Final early next month. On winning back-to-back World Cup Series titles, she said, "I cannot believe it. I am just so happy".
Her compatriot, Tereshuk was even faster around the course, clawing her way back from eighth on the starting grid all the way to second place finish, getting her hands on a sensational silver.
Great Britain's Mhairi Spence, who began the ultimate event level on points with Buriak, was cool and calm with the pistol but she could not match the speed of her Ukrainian rivals. She was, however all smiles, with a well-earned bronze medal. The experienced Brit, a silver medallist at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, had earlier taken maximum points in the ride.
Although she tried as hard as she could, Leila Gyenesei from Hungary could not get that medal the home fans so desperately craved, with the 27-year-old quick but not accurate enough as she lost valuable time in the final two rounds of shooting. She simply could not make up the gap to the podium places and finished fourth overall.
Fifth and sixth places went to Russia's 21-year-old Gulnaz Gubaydullina and Margaux Isaksen of USA, the latter having made her way up from tenth position. Isaksen remains the only non-Ukrainian to have won a World Cup Series event this season, having taken gold in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in March.
Italy's Claudia Cesarini, who had come so close to breaking the fencing world record in the first event of the day, struggled with her horse and was up not to the standard of the frontrunners and ended the day in twelfth.
The day's fastest swimmer, France's Elodie Clouvel, began the combined in fifth but simply could not find her aim and was off the pace and finished a lowly 21st, one place behind Germany's Qualification Group A winner Lena Schoneborn.
The focus will now turn to the Men's Final tomorrow before the Mixed Relay takes place the day after.