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Gold! 'Dream day' as Ireland duo defend mixed relay title at World Cup final

Natalya Coyle and Arthur Lanigan O’Keeffe were impressive in Lithuania yesterday.

IRISH MODERN PENTATHLETES Natalya Coyle and Arthur Lanigan O’Keeffe defended their mixed relay title and took home gold from the World Cup final in Lithuania yesterday.

Having won the competition in the USA last year, the duo dominated once again in Vilnius. They set out on the final laser-run event in the lead, having built up a 23-second advantage.

Coyle, originally from Meath, ran the first two laps of 800m — both included firing at five targets — and kept Ireland’s lead over the chasing pack.

Lanigan O’Keeffe then held off stiff French competition during his efforts, and sprinted clear on his final lap.

Up until the laser-run, it had been a positive day for the two-time Olympians.

They started strong in the pool. Training under a new fencing coach, Walid Sayed from Egypt, Coyle and O’Keeffe then claimed 19 victories to top the pile and impress in that discipline, and they took hold of the competition in the riding.

“Pretty much a dream day from start to finish,” a delighted Lanigan O’Keeffe said afterwards. “We’re delighted with that to be honest. A brilliant day.”

“I’d say that was the hardest relay we’ve ever done, a stacked field from top to bottom. We were going into it going, wooh, this one could be tough, and it was, but we are delighted to beat that field today.”

Later this summer will see them compete in the European and World Championships, and Ireland will be favourites to impress considering yesterday, and other recent displays.

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