Olympian Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe has become the first Irish Modern Pentathlete to finish in the top ten at a World Cup competition. With over 100 of the World’s top athletes competing in Cairo at the weekend, this result firmly places Arthur as one of the sport’s elite.
This season sees the start of the qualification period for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and Arthur’s current form certainly makes him one to look out for.
Arthur started off the day with fencing and after a slow start; he produced a solid fence to finish in 11th with 18 victories. Next came the swimming, which is one of Arthur’s strengths and he swam a 2:03,39, placing him 7th in the swim and keeping in contention with the early leaders.
A very controlled show jumping round with only one pole down meant that Arthur started the combined in 10th place. The field was very tight at the top with only 30 seconds separating 3rd-17th place on the starting line.
With such a strong and compact field, Arthur kept his cool and shot well in all four series, which enabled him to head into the runs with the group of athletes that were fighting for the top 15 places. One thing you know with Arthur is that he will give everything he has and with a final effort he secured 9th place with a final score of 1432pts.
Gold went to Nakonechnyi (LAT), silver to Kuf (CZE) and the bronze was won by Tsikhanau (BLR).
Andy Mackenzie, acting Performance Director for the Irish team was delighted: “Arthur is such an exciting athlete to work with, not only is he a very talented athlete but he is also starting to show strategic maturity… and that is a winning combination!”
This result is the best performance by an Irish athlete at a World Cup and afterwards Arthur had this to say: “I’m really happy with today’s performance; I had no weak events and maintained a level head throughout. I know there are still areas that I can improve upon, which is the really exciting part… soon I will be competing for medal places”.
You can follow Arthur’s journey to Rio at www.arthurlok.org and on Twitter @ArthurLOK1