Ireland’s top three pentathletes will step up preparations for the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympics at this week’s penultimate qualifying competition.
The UIPM 2021 Pentathlon World Cup Final takes place from May 13-16 and Natalya Coyle, Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe and Sive Brassil are all in Hungary with different goals to pursue.
Coyle, 30, has already qualified for Tokyo and will use the competition – which mirrors the Olympic format with the fencing round robin on day one and all other parts of the women’s final on day two – as a dress rehearsal for her third consecutive Games appearance in August.
The Meath pentathlete, who finished fourth in the 2018 World Cup Final in Astana, said: “I’m really looking forward to the World Cup Final.
“The format is the same as the Olympic Games so it’s a good time to test myself.
“I’ve put in a nice block of training at home so I’m really excited to get going, especially after the disappointment of having to withdraw from the last competition.”
Like her more experienced team-mate, Brassil also earned one of 36 women’s qualification berths at the World Cup Final by performing consistently in the 2020/21 regular season, but her quest to become an Olympian this summer is far from complete.
The 27-year-old from Galway is likely to need good results at the World Cup Final and World Championships in Cairo in June to qualify for Tokyo, and there is little margin for error as she lines up against many of her rivals for the remaining Olympic places.
Brassil is familiar with this tier of competition having taken part in the last three World Cup Finals, with a best finish of 19th in Vilnius in 2017.
Two-time Olympian Lanigan-O’Keeffe also has work to do as he takes his place in the 36-strong men’s field alongside many experienced peers and new contenders from around the world.
The 29-year-old from Kilkenny will also get his competition under way tomorrow (May 13) before the other men’s disciplines (swimming, fencing bonus round, riding and Laser Run) follow on Saturday (May 15).
The Mixed Relay closes the competition on Sunday (May 16), and although Coyle and Lanigan-O’Keeffe have happy memories of their epic back-to-back victories in 2016 and 2017, no Irish athletes will be involved as Olympic preparations take priority.