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Dublin: 3°C Saturday 17 April 2021

Lanigan-O'Keeffe rediscovers form to cruise into Sofia final

With valuable Olympic qualification points at stake this month, the Kilkenny man began to hit his stride.

Arthur Lanigan O'Keeffe (file pic).
Arthur Lanigan O'Keeffe (file pic).
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

TWO-TIME OLYMPIAN Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe rediscovered his form to cruise into the final at the first of two UIPM Pentathlon World Cup events taking place in Sofia, Bulgaria this month.

The 29-year-old Kilkenny man finished second in a fast qualification group with 1,129 points, ranking second overall of 99 competing athletes and comfortably securing one of the 36 berths in the final on Saturday (10 April).

Lanigan-O’Keeffe came fourth in his swimming heat this morning (2:04.09) and then hit his stride on the fencing piste, scoring 19 victories in his 32 bouts. That took the pressure off and he crossed the finish line second behind Maxim Kuznetsov of Russia after a Laser Run time of 11:40.10.

His performance will have come as a relief after an off-colour return to action at the last World Cup event in Budapest last month.

Lanigan-O’Keeffe retains hopes of reaching his third Olympics and currently sits 32nd in the men’s pentathlon Olympic World Rankings (OWR). Many athletes above him have already secured their berths, of which there are 26 total remaining, six of which (three for men, three for women) will be allocated at the World Championships in Cairo in June.

Between then and now, the focus is on these two World Cup events in Sofia, from which the top-ranked 72 athletes will earn a place at the World Cup Final in Szekesfehervar, Hungary. Athletes can accrue points at each of these competitions and improve their OWR, which will determine most of the remaining places at the Games.

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Lanigan O’Keeffe’s Irish team-mate, Sive Brassil, will compete in the women’s final tomorrow (9 April) in the first of two back-to-back World Cup events in the Bulgarian capital. Brassil is ranked 23rd in the women’s OWR, six places behind compatriot Natalya Coyle.

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