LONDON (Reuters) - Czech military officer David Svoboda reclaimed top spot on the leaderboard after the riding event of the modern pentathlon on Saturday, edging four points ahead of Cao Zhongrong of China as they enter the final combined shoot and run event.
Svoboda, who had topped the leaderboard after fencing but struggled in his swimming heat, managed a cleaner run of the 12 jumps in Greenwich Park than Cao, knocking down three rails to take his total score after the first three events to 3,460.
In the finale of the event, celebrating its centenary at the London Games, the 36 competitors take five shots at a target before running 1000m, repeating the procedure three times. They will be start staggered according to their points from the fencing, swimming and riding.
Cao, who knocked off six rails in the riding event which sees the competitors given just 20 minutes to familiarise themselves with a randomly assigned horse, will begin just one second behind Svoboda after amassing a score of 3,456 points.
Russian world number one Aleksander Lesun, hoping to cap a memorable 2012 in which he won the world championships and became a father sits in joint third place on 3,424 points with Hungary's Robert Kasza, one of only three riders to take maximum points from the riding event.
Egypt's Amro El Geziry, who notched up a modern pentathlon Olympic record of 1:55:50 in the pool to grab fifth place going into the third event, dropped to 28th after a problematic ride left him 33rd out of 36 riders.
(Reporting by Paul Majendie, Rosalba O'Brien and Kylie MacLellan, Editing by Clare Fallon and Ed Osmond)