Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe in top ten of modern pentathlon

Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe in top ten of modern pentathlon

Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe produced another top ten finish for Ireland at the Rio Olympics with a come-from-behind eighth-place finish in the men’s modern pentathlon competition at Deodoro, writes Will Downing in Rio.

The European Champion from Kilkenny was lying 25th after yesterday’s marathon fencing competition, where he took on all 35 other competitors, winning 16 and losing 19.

It left the 24-year-old up against it going into the final day, but with a 13th-place performance in the swim, clocking 2 minutes, 3.03 seconds, started moving up the ranks.

Two wins in the fencing bonus round pushed him further into contention, and thanks to a clear round in the showjumping on board Equador Itapua ­ the same British horse ridden by women’s gold medallist for Australia Chloe Esposito ­ Lanigan-O’Keeffe went into the combined running and shooting race lying in 15th place, 23 seconds off the podium.

His progress was marked during the final biathlon event, gaining seven places to cross the line in eighth position, 11 seconds off the podium and 22 seconds behind Russian winner Aleksandr Lesun, clocking an Olympic record 1479 points.

Ukraine’s Pavlo Tymoshchenko was second, seven seconds down, with Ismael Hernandez third for Mexico eleven seconds behind the champion.

It’s an excellent double result for Ireland, having seen Natalya Coyle take seventh in the women’s event yesterday.

Pentathlon Ireland later praised the Irish competitors Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe and Natalya Coyle, saying "their performance in Rio has been an inspiration to the next generation of Irish Pentathletes looking to represent Ireland at Tokyo and beyond.

"Having both athletes finish in the top 10 in the same games is an incredible accomplishment for the athletes and the federation as we strive to give all our athletes the best possible opportunities within modern pentathlon.

"Natalya’s seventh place finish on Friday and Arthur’s eighth-place finish on Saturday mark a major moment for our federation.

"This marks the first time an Irish male pentathlete has placed in the top 10 and the first time both our male and female athletes have finished within the top 10 at the same Olympic Games."

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