Ireland won the mixed relay title at the International Modern Pentathlon Union World Cup Final for the second year in a row with a fine performance to qualify for Olympic Tokyo in Lithuania’s capital Vilnius.
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The duo of Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe and Natalya Coyle put in an excellent presentation to defend the title they claimed last year in Sarasota in the United States.
Hungary’s Sarolta Kovacs and Gergely Demeter completed the opening 200 meters swim in the fastest time of 1min 56.8sec to sit ahead of Russia’s Gulnaz Gubaydullina and Alexander Savkin and the Irish pair.
In the fencing, Lanigan-O’Keeffe and Coyle claimed 19 victories to top the pile and although they lost a bonus round bout to Egypt, they were able to take control of the competition once more in the riding.
A clear round confirmed they entered the laser-run with a strong lead of 23 seconds and they protected their benefit. The Irish ended as winners with 1,499 points as France’s Valentin Prades and Julie Belhamri took silver on 1,478. The Russian couple came home for bronze on 1,459.
“We were strong from start to finish and it was one of those days that you don’t get very often in the pentathlon,” said Lanigan-O’Keeffe.
It was a seriously good field and we performed well in all events so we are delighted. We had a great swim and then won the fencing, and the riding and laser-run went well so it was a perfect day – fantastic. It is a great feeling to be able to stand on top of the podium and hear the national anthem of Ireland.