Fri, Aug 22, 2008 - Page 23 News List

MODERN PENTATHLON: Russia’s Moiseev defends Olympic title

DANGEROUS BUSINESSThere were several falls in the show-jumping, the worst when John Zakrzewski was flipped over, dragged along and then stamped on

AFP , BEIJING

China’s Cao Zhongrong falls off his horse “ChuChu” during the men’s modern pentathlon show-jumping in Beijing yesterday.

PHOTO: AP

Andrey Moiseev became the first man for 52 years to win back-to-back gold medals in the men’s modern pentathlon yesterday.

The Russian finished ahead of the Lithuanian duo of Edvinas Krungolcas and Andrejus Zadneprovskis, a double world champion and a silver medalist in Athens four years ago, having led into the concluding 3,000m run.

Moiseev’s final total in the demanding one-day event saw him finish with 5,632 points. Krungolcas finished on 5,548 and Zadneprovskis 5,524.

China’s Qian Zhenhua, second heading into the concluding 3,000m, faded in front of his home crowd and finished out of the medals in fourth after collapsing over the line. Moiseev was 52 points ahead of Qian after the show-jumping, the fourth event of a competition also featuring target shooting, fencing and swimming.

Under the system used to ensure the first home in the 3,000m is also the overall winner, Moiseev had a 13 second head start over Qian.

The 3,000m was, unusually, not held on a cross-country course but on the athletics track at the Olympic Sports Centre Stadium, where the runners were made to take several turns in what were effectively three laps of 1,000m each.

Michal Michalik’s victory in the penultimate show-jumping phase saw him go up to fifth place. But fellow Czech David Svoboda, who had been third, dropped down the field to 31st.

The show-jumping saw five of the 36-man field fail to finish the 12 obstacle course, situated inside the confines of the stadium’s athletics track.

No-one managed a clear round, with Michalik’s 28 penalties in a time of 69.37 seconds the best effort.

There were numerous refusals, several falls and repeated instances of horses ploughing through the fences in a competition which, unlike other equestrian events, sees competitors on mounts they have never previously ridden.

The worst case saw John Zakrzewski flipped over, dragged along with his foot still in the stirrups and stamped on by his mount, leaving the Frenchman with a bloodied face.

Svoboda had earlier scored 191 out of a maximum 200 in the 10m pistol shooting, surpassing the previous Olympic best of 186 shared by the Belarus duo Pavel Dougal (Sydney 2000) and Dmitry Meliakh (Athens 2004).

But no man who has won the shooting has gone on to take the modern pentathlon gold medal. In the epee fencing, both Moiseev and Qian won 26 of their 35 bouts.

Egypt’s Amro el Geziry set a new Olympic modern pentathlon 200m swimming record of 1 minute, 55.86 seconds, breaking Moiseev’s mark in Athens four years ago of 1 minute, 58:88 seconds.

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