Hungary’s Sarolta Kovács secured her maiden individual World Modern Pentathlon Championships crown as she edged record-breaking French swimmer Élodie Clouvel in a thrilling women’s final in Moscow.
The 25-year-old, who represented her country at the London 2012 Olympic Games and is the current world number 15, finished on a total of 1,386 points to pip silver medallist Clouvel, who came into the event having topped qualification, by 12.
Beijing 2008 Olympic gold medallist Lena Schöneborn of Germany took the final spot on the podium, narrowly missing out on second place by a slender one point margin.
Lithuanian Laura Asadauskaitė endured a disappointing outing in the Russian capital as the London 2012 Olympic champion could only muster fourth, 18 points adrift of the Hungarian’s winning score.
“I'm so, so happy,” Kovács said.
“I believe in myself now.”
Clouvel had began the final in ominous form, powering to the summit of the early standings by clocking 2min 06.59sec in the swimming, a world record in modern pentathlon which earned her a total of 321 points.
Kovács made sure she was there or thereabouts, finishing in fourth place to go into the fencing stage with a score of 310 points.
A record of 21 victories and 14 defeats in the fencing event saw the Hungarian end in eighth, which was enough to hand her top spot on the overall leaderboard for the first time.
It was a position she then consolidated with the best riding performance, handing her a further 300 points.
Her performances in the opening disciplines saw her head into the combined running and shooting with a slender nine second advantage over the rest of the field, providing a pulsating finish to a closely-fought race.
Desperate to top the podium at World Championships level for the first time, Kovács surged home to wrap up a superb win and condemn Clouvel to silver.
Hungary also won the team event ahead of China and Germany, silver and bronze medallists respectively.