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Dublin: 7°C Friday 4 December 2020

'Up there with the top days of my life' - Ireland win gold in modern pentathlon

Arthur Lanigan O’Keeffe made history at the European Championships in Bath, England.

Arthur Lanigan O’Keeffe celebrates his win today.
Arthur Lanigan O’Keeffe celebrates his win today.

Updated at 21.31

HISTORY WAS MADE today as Ireland’s Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe won a gold medal at European Modern Pentathlon Championships in Bath, England.

O’Keeffe becomes the first-ever Irish pentathlete to win gold and secured his place at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the process.

The Irish athlete’s swim time of 2:02.49 had put him in seventh place ahead of the fencing round, before 23 wins and just 12 defeats saw him jump to second overall.

Despite five points being deducted for time-delay, he had similar success in the showjumping event thereafter.

Going into the run/shoot event, O’Keeffe held a 20-second lead over Britain’s James Cooke, and ultimately managed to finish the competition 16 seconds ahead of France’s Valentin Prades, and Italy’s Riccardo de Luca.

Of his achievement, a jubilant O’Keffe said: “It basically means the world to me, our whole season has been focused on peaking at this one moment and we peaked at it so it gives me great confidence going into Rio. I’ve now qualified for the Olympics, I’m the European champion, it’s pretty much up there with the top days of my life. I am so delighted, it’s amazing.”

High Performance Director, Andy Mackenzie, added: “It shows the work that Arthur’s been doing over the years. He’s allowed this to happen, he’s had this in him for ages but he’s come of age today, which is great. For the High Performance programme, again it justifies everything we are doing and hopefully it will help our funding too.”

Irish interest in the competition continues tomorrow, with Olympic qualification again up for grabs, as Natalya Coyle competes in the women’s final.

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Paul Fennessy

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