By Mike Rowbottom

Ukraine celebrate_winning_mixed_relay_World_Championships_Rome_May_9_2012May 9 - Modern pentathlon's international organisers will seek to add the mixed relay event to the 2016 Olympic Games.

Speaking after Ukraine had retained the mixed relay title at the World Championships in Rome, the UIPM President Dr h.c. Klauus Schormann, commented: "The mixed relay first made its international debut at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games and has gone from strength to strength due to its dynamic exciting format.

"Due to this, we are pushing for its inclusion into the 2016 Olympic Games.

"The format promotes gender equality and is a great opportunity for smaller nations to submit athletes to compete on the world's biggest modern pentathlon stage."

Ukraine became the first nation to defend the mixed relay world title as their pair of Ganna Buriak and Oleksander Mordasov secured a dramatic victory in the final shoot/run discipline.

The Ukraine team narrowly defeated Russia, represented by Svetlana Lebedeva and Maxim Kuznetsov, with Ye Zhang and Zhongrog Cao holding on for a Chinese bronze.

After Ukraine had started the final run/shoot discipline in bronze medal position, near perfect shooting by Buriak, who was a last minute replacement for Anastaysia Spas and powerful running meant that the mixed relay gold returned to Kiev.

Ukraine team_in_action_World_Championships_Rome_May_9_2012
"In the last shoot I came in next to the Russian team," said Mordasov.

"I just had to think of my own shooting.

"It worked well as I left first.

"I was always nervous that he would catch me, I did not know until the last 400 metres that we were going to win."

The female half of the team, Buriak, added: "We had a lot of pressure on us at the start of the day, as everyone wanted us to repeat the feat of Viktoria Tereshuk and Dmytro Kirpulyanskyy of 2011.

"I knew we had a chance as Olek [Mordasov] is such a good athlete and I love competing with him, but I am still in shock."

After receiving his silver medal, Kuznetsov said: "This is every pentathletes dream to be on the podium at the World Championships.

"I thought I could catch the Ukrainian team in the last 1,000m, but I did not have enough energy in my legs and he was too quick."

The 31-year-old Cao, affectionately known as Uncle Cao to his team mates, said after winning the second medal for China at these Championships: "We cooperated very well with each other today.

"This is Ye's [Zhang] first World Championships medal so she is ecstatic."

The 22-year-old Zhang commented: "Uncle Cao is such a great teacher, I look up to him a lot and I could not be happier to win a gold medal with him."

The Czech Republic, which started first in the combined event, dropped back to fourth, finishing ahead of Germany and the United States.

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