Irish pentathletes Eilidh Prise and Michael Healy finished 4th in the mixed relay at the FISU World Modern Pentathlon World Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Saturday, July 7.
Prise, 22, and Healy, 20, teamed up to make a strong bid for a medal on the penultimate day of the historic championships – the first global gathering of student pentathletes.
The title was won by Poland, ahead of silver medallists Russia and bronze medallists Egypt, with the Irish just one place off the podium having started the Laser-Run in joint 3rd place.
Prise, who has just finished studying mathematics at the University of Bath, finished 6th in the individual event earlier in the week. Healy, a UCD agricultural science student, came 14th in the men’s event.
Ireland has established a reputation as one of the emerging global forces in modern pentathlon, especially in the mixed relay where Natalya Coyle and Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe won gold medals at the UIPM World Cup Final in 2016 and 2017.
The next generation are following in their footsteps, as indicated by the silver medal won by Healy and Kate Coleman-Lenehan on the third leg of the 2018 World Cup circuit in Kecskemet in May.
Yesterday in Budapest, Healy and Prise fared well in fencing, with 28 victories in the ranking round and overall victory in the bonus round. They both held their nerve during the riding event with only one penalty incurred.
Eilidh Prise said: “The fencing went really well for us today and we built up a lot of momentum together, feeding off each other’s energy and good results.
“The riding was also really good and that’s always the tricky part in pentathlon, because anything can happen.
“Laser-Run is my strongest event and I felt quite good and handed over to Mike in 2nd place, but he unfortunately struggled on his first shoot and we couldn’t quite make up the gap after that.
“To finish 4th is a fantastic achievement. I was a little bit disappointed in my individual performance and felt I might have placed higher. We came here maybe hoping for a podium finish in the back of our minds, but it’s always about taking one event as it comes.
“It was a fantastic experience to compete against our fellow students. In the senior ranks you’re always comparing yourself to full-time athletes but here you’re on a par with other student athletes and our studies are incredibly important to us, so that was really nice.
“It was a fantastic venue with a brand new facility and just a really great competition, and I hope in future the competition can attract even more athletes. It’s really good promotion for our sport.”
Michael Healy added: “I didn’t have too many expectations coming here to Hungary, because things can go wrong. You’d hope to be competitive but there’s no point in putting too much pressure on yourself.
“It was the first time this competition has been held and there were a lot of athletes from all over the world – in fact we knew the majority of people from other competitions and nearly every country sent their best athletes.
“For me the individual event went OK and I was happy to finish up where I did. To finish 4th in the relay is good but annoying at the same time, because you get nothing for it. It’s bittersweet.
“It was great to come here to a very historic place where pentathlon in Hungary started. The whole experience was very special.”