UIPM 2017 World Cup III: Heroes of Hungary bring joy to home crowd
- Individual medallists Kovacs & Demeter team up to win gold
- Belarus win silver and Czech Republic beat Russia in sprint finish
- Fourteen nations take part in event proposed for 2020 Olympic Games
It was Hungary's turn to enjoy a day of patriotic pride as Sarolta Kovacs and Bence Demeter won the gold medal in the Mixed Relay to bring World Cup III to an exciting close.
On Sunday, France had been the country on everybody's minds as Valentin Prades won gold on the day of the Presidential election, but today it was all about the host nation as their athletes clinched victory in front of a supportive crowd in Kecskemét.
The playing of the Hungarian national anthem, "Himnusz", completed a triumphant week for the organisers of a successful World Cup, with gold following a bronze medal in the Women's Final for Kovacs and silver in the Men's Final for Demeter.
A few seconds behind them, Tatsiana Khaldoba and Ilya Palazkov from Belarus were strong winners of the silver medal, but there was drama in the race for bronze.
Having started the Laser-Run in 5th place, Czech Republic (Jan Kuf / Natalie Dianova) worked relentlessly in pursuit of a podium place and they secured it by defeating Russia (Gulnaz Gubaydullina / Kirill Belyakov) in a sprint finish.
UIPM President Dr Klaus Schormann said: "The Mixed Relay is a very important team competition for our union and has been since the first time we held it at a World Championships in 2010 in Chengdu.
"The format was included in the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore (2010) and Nanjing (2014) and will be again included in Buenos Aires (2018), so this format is very important for us and we are promoting the Mixed Relay for inclusion in the Olympic Games in 2020 in Tokyo.
"We could see that the strong nations who competed in the individual events also competed here in the Mixed Relay and we saw a very high performance along with the excellent facilities here in Kecskemét.
"I am very happy and confident that the IOC will support our wish for the Mixed Relay to be included in the Olympic Games."
The World Cup circuit resumes later this month with World Cup IV in Drzonkow (POL) from May 25-29. The 2017 World Cup Final takes place in Vilnius (LTU) from June 23-25.
Mixed Relay's final results (Top 18):
|1 - Bence Demeter and Sarolta Kovacs (HUN)||1464|
|2 - Ilya Palazkov and Tatsiana Khaldoba (BLR)||1455|
|3 - Jan Kuf and Natalia Dianova (CZE)||1444|
|4 - Kirill Belyakov and Gulnaz Gubaydullina (RUS)||1443|
|5 - Marvin Dogue and Alexandra Bettinelli (GER)||1430|
|6 - Jun Woongtae and Kim Sunwoo (KOR)||1426|
|7 - Alessandro Colasanti and Alessandra Frezza (ITA)||1414|