Alexander Lifanov and Maxim Kuznetsov, representing the Russian Modern Pentathlon Federation (RMPF), won a close men’s relay on the second day of the International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) World Championships in Cairo.
The Russian pairing finished five seconds ahead of South Korea’s Jun Woong-tae and Jung Jin-hwa.
The South Koreans were pushed all the way by the far less experienced duo Zhang Linbin and Han Jiahao of China, who eventually had to settle for bronze.
Fourth place went to France, thanks to Christopher Patte and Ugo Fleurot, who finished one place ahead of Hungary's Balazs Szep and Gergely Regos.
Despite having only a two-second lead over the Chinese pair going into the concluding laser run, the Russians maintained their composure.
Han struggled at the second visit to the shooting range, enabling Jun to make up ground and then overtake his rival on the second lap.
But at the fourth shoot there was another change as Jung, the 2017 world champion, suffered an attack of nerves and gave Zhang the chance to catch him and then move ahead.
UIPM 2021 Pentathlon and Laser Run World Championships 🇪🇬— UIPM - World Pentathlon (@WorldPentathlon) June 9, 2021
Lifanov and Kuznetsov win Men’s Relay gold🥇
• RMPF duo celebrate success on day 2 in Cairo
• Jun and Jung come from behind to take 🥈 for Korea
• 🇨🇳 claim 🥉 thanks to Zhang and Han
👉 https://t.co/DCzoyaOlYu pic.twitter.com/Tq2lGicZ6u
However, Jung caught his opponent in a breathless finish on the final lap to secure silver.
Lifanov commented: "I’m very happy because it’s my first world title.
"It’s my first senior world medal and it’s gold.
"We wanted this medal very much because we have some problems in the men’s team in Russia and I think this medal will give some good emotions to our team.
"It’s very hot weather and I was very tired running the second lap.
"It’s very good that the organisers decided to make the Laser Run at 7pm because I think at 5pm some sportspeople would die here!
"I will try to qualify for the individual final, let’s see how the semi-final goes."
Jun added: "My team mate Jung is in great condition and today we had a very good position - we’re so happy.
"We had a good race with the China team, it was very close."
The UIPM's flagship event - which was moved from Belarus to the Egyptian capital - continues tomorrow.
Russian athletes are competing under the RMPF banner under the sanctions imposed on the nation by the World Anti-Doping Agency in response to state-sponsored doping.