March 11 - All Ilia Frolov's (pictured) hard work on his weakest event, shooting, paid off at the first Modern Pentathlon World Cup of the season in Charlotte, United States, as the Russian did not miss a shot to earn his first World Cup victory since 2010.
The 2008 world champion, who is currently world number nine, never looked to be letting the gold medal leave his grasp during the combined event.
Pavlo Tymoschenko of the Ukraine ran his way into the silver medal and world number one Aleksander Lesun made it a great day for Russia as he hung on for a well deserved bronze.
"In the pre-season I worked a lot on my shooting more than the other four disciplines as it let me down last year, so I am very happy to shoot so well," Frolov said.
"This victory was very satisfying for me as it gives me an edge in the fight for the two Olympic places within the Russian team for London."
Frolov had started the day in vintage form, finishing third in the fencing behind Belarusian Mihail Propkopenko.
The Russian followed up this respectable result with a 17th place in the swim, but it was his near flawless ride worth 1,180 points which put him in a commanding position ahead of the combined event.
Britain's Nick Woodbridge (pictured) competed well to finish sixth, but there was disappointment for his teammate, world junior champion Jamie Cooke.
The 21-year-old finished 36th, despite setting the fastest time of the day in the swimming, where he holds the pentathlon world record.
Jan Bartu, the British performance director, commented: "It was a very frustrating day for Jamie.
"He struggled from the start, feeling a lot of pressure on his shoulders.
"He finished at the bottom of the fencing sheet and an unlucky draw in the riding did not help."
Tymoschenko, who won the opening World Cup of last season, commented: "I shot very well today; I tried to shoot more precise than quick, which worked well.
"I am glad to start the year in good form, but I want to keep this up for the entire season, as I dropped off last year."
The Ukrainian who has not yet qualified for the Olympics was confident of heading to London.
"These points today mean I have two good competitions, so I think I will be there in Greenwich Park," he said.
Lesun (pictured back row, second from right) was content with his bronze medal, saying: "I did not fence very well today, so I was continually playing catch up.
"When I rode a perfect round, I knew I would be in a chance of moving up in the combined event.
"I was very shocked of how well I shot which is a very good sign for the rest of the season.
"Bronze is great for me."
The International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) President Dr h c Klaus Schormann commented on Charlotte's first hosting of a World Cup: "UIPM is pleased of how the whole event went.
"The technical side was flawless, and there was equal competition for all athletes.
"It is a big positive for UIPM to have another top venue and organising committee in the USA to host World Cups with this country having over 100 years of history in modern pentathlon.
"The facilities were ideal, the people were superb, this was a great experience by all involved."
The UIPM World Cup Series now heads to Rio de Janeiro for World Cup Two starting on March 15, where a record number of athletes are expected.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
March 2012: Olympic champion Schoneborn wins opening modern pentathlon World Cup