Prades leads French one-two finish at UIPM World Cup in Rome

 

Valentin Prades led a French one-two finish to take the men’s individual title at the International Modern Pentathlon Federation (UIPM) World Cup in Rome today.

Prades, a relay gold medallist for France at the 2014 World Championships, tasted success for the first time this season by taking the gold medal ahead of fellow countryman Christopher Patte and bronze medallist Jan Kuf of the Czech Republic.

The 23-year-old managed to claim top spot, despite having started the combined event in ninth place – albeit only 0.17 seconds separated him from leader Amro El Geziry of Egypt, winner of the UIPM World Cup Series opener in Cairo. 

“I’m very happy because it’s an important season this year,” said Prades.

“It’s Olympic qualification and this is a good performance for getting my ticket to Rio.

“I am so happy because we have trained hard for this.

“It’s like winning the World Cup Final; it’s the same feeling.”

As for Patte, a silver medal saw him equal his personal best in the competition after finishing second in 2013.

He benefited from a strong showing in the fencing and riding and recovered from a disappointing swimming performance, where he finished in 30th place overall.

Like his compatriot, he made his way through the field in the combined event, advancing from eighth to second.

The fencing ranking round featured superb performances from Chinese duo Jianli Guo and Jiahao Han, with Germany’s Christian Zillekens, Italy’s Pierpaolo Petroni and Kuf also managing to secure 22 victories from their 35 bouts.

In the swimming, James Cooke and El Geziry enjoyed a thrilling race with the Egyptian managing to pass his British rival in the final metres to secure top points.

Guo then secured maximum extra points by coming out on top in the fencing bonus round, defeating Han in the final bout.

Six competitors had a clean round in the riding arena to claim the maximum 300 points, while Patte and Kuf put themselves in medal contention with scores of 293.

Unlike 24 hours earlier when Lithuania’s Laura Asadauskaite led for much of the day, the lack of a clear leader meant it was destined to be an incredibly open combined event.

It proved to be the case as El Geziry failed to capitalise on the slender advantage he held by starting first, allowing Prades and Patte to emerge from the pack.

Kuf took home his first World Cup medal of the season, while Britain’s Joseph Choong and Zillekens came fourth and fifth respectively with France’s Valentin Belaud in sixth place.

For the second day in succession, there was no home success with Petroni the highest Italian finisher in 10th position.

Defending World Cup champion Riccardo De Luca finished third from last, and compatriots Fabio Poddighe and Giuseppe Parisi fared only marginally better.

The hosts have one more chance to make the podium in tomorrow’s mixed relay showdown. 

 

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