Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe qualified for the final at World Cup 3 on Sunday in Szazhalombatta (Bupdest, Hungary). The young Irish athletes has now successfully qualified for all three finals of the World Cup competitions in 2012 and continues to chase his Olympic ambitions.
Modern Pentathlon Ireland reports that the majority of the big names made it through to the final .However, high calibre athletes like Woodbridge (GBR) ranked World #9, who had been 6th both in the US and the Brazilian final, and World #7 Demeter (HUN) failed to make it through to the finals.
To put Arthur’s win in to perspective, Kirpulyanskyy (UKR) missed out on qualifying for his 3rd final in a row for the first time in his career. Meanwhile Natalya Coyle narrowly missed out in the women’s competition finishing 13th in her qualification group with the top 12 progressing to the final.
Lanigan-O’Keeffe started the day well by finishing 6th fastest in the swimming pool with a time of 1:59,89 for 1364 pentathlon points. Onto the fencing, where he scored 18victories and 15 defeats for 860 pentathlon points which was the 11th best fencing performance. His total points after two events saw him start the combined run/shoot event in 8th position. Solid shooting performances, coupled with gutsy running saw the 20 year old from Kilkenny cross the finishing line in 11th position and secure his place in Sunday’s final.
Team-mate Eanna Bailey performed well in the same qualification group. He swam a personal best of 1:58.31 for 1384 and was the 3rd fastest. His fence was the weak link, scoring just 11 victories and 22defeats for 664 pentathlon points that saw him drop to 26th place after two events. Bailey produced the 8th fastest run/shoot event to move him up the leader board an impressive 8 places to finish in 18th.
Natalya Coyle was desperately close to qualification in the women’s competition . Coyle started well by setting a new personal best in the swim event of 2:16.89 and was the 15th fastest. An excellent performance in the fencing event saw her score 27 victories and 21 defeats for 888 pentathlon points and move up the leaderboard to 9th position. A rollercoaster ride in the run/shoot event saw Coyle leave the shooting range after the final shoot series in 12th place but was unable to hold off a fast paced Belarusian athlete on the last 1km run lap. She crossed the line in 13th position and missed out on a place in her third final of 2012.
Having now qualified for 3 of the 4 finals in the World Cup series, Lanigan-O’Keeffe should qualify for the World Cup Final that will be held in China at the end of May. Coyle also stands a good chance of qualifying for this event but will be looking secure this by making the final in World Cup 4 next week in Russia. The World Cup Final will be the last event to count to the Olympic ranking list and has high level ranking points on offer.