Consistency proved key for Germany's Lena Schoneborn and Annika Schleu on the second day of the Modern Pentathlon European Championships at the University of Bath, where they secured overall victory in the women's relay, despite not winning any of the disciplines.
The pair claimed third place finishes in the fencing and swimming events to put themselves firmly in medal contention after Great Britain's Samantha Murray and Mhairi Spence had seemingly been in pole position with victories in both disciplines on home soil.
The British duo’s prospects for gold were damaged significantly, though, by their horse's refusal to attempt the first fence of the riding event which saw them accrue a costly penalty and end the event with 251 points.
In contrast, Russia and Lithuania enjoyed clear rounds to earn the maximum total of 300 points, while Schoneborn and Schleu again performed impressively to add another 295 points to their tally, giving them the lead in overall competition.
Although Russia were briefly able to overtake Germany in the combined run/shoot event, Schoneborn upped the pace to re-establish their lead and the reigning individual world champion crossed the line in 12min 25sec.
It gave the German pair a winning total of 1,397 points and having secured gold, Schoneborn reflected on a positive performance in the rain in Bath.
"We both knew we were strong in the run and shoot so we were confident," she said.
"Annika gave us a really good start and I had a good first shoot, so I was able to really enjoy it after that."
Russia’s Ekaterina Khuraskina and Svetlana Lebedeva finished comfortably in the silver medal position, while Lithuania’s Lina Batuleviciute and Emilija Serapinaite ended five points clear of the British pair to complete the podium positions on 1,372 points.
The men’s event saw Ukraine's Dmytro Kirpulyanskyy and Yuriy Fedechko take an early lead with a superb performance in the fencing event in which they recorded 21 victories.
After coming third in both the swimming and riding events, the pair found themselves trailing Russia’s Ilya Shugarov and Kirill Belyakov by 17 seconds heading into the combined event.
The Russians faltered though and would end outside the medals in fifth, with Kirpulyanskyy and Fedechko taking full advantage to cross the line in 11:38 and move to a winning points total of 1,472.
In the end, Hungary’s Istvan Malits and Bence Harangozo proved to be their nearest rivals after they ended the competition on 1,466 to earn silver, while Italy’s Valerio Grasselli and Tullio De Santis beat Britain’s James Myatt and Samuel Curry to bronze by just two points, having accumulated a total of 1,459.
August 2015: Italy triumph in mixed relay on opening day of 2015 Modern Pentathlon European Championships