Two-time Olympian Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe is focusing on performances, not results, in the next two months as he bids to secure his place at a third Games.
The Kilkenny pentathlete is playing catch-up in the UIPM Olympic World Rankings despite winning bronze in the only elite competition that took place last year – UIPM 2020 Pentathlon World Cup Cairo.
After another intense pre-season, Lanigan-O’Keeffe returns to action tomorrow (March 25) in the men’s qualification round at UIPM 2021 Pentathlon World Cup Budapest. But the 29-year-old is taking each step at a time as he looks for the points he needs to qualify for the rescheduled Olympics in Tokyo.
“My plan for this season is to control the elements that are within my control, try to remain calm and composed about the elements that are out of my control and above all express myself through competition, showcasing the work I have been putting in relentlessly since my last competition 13 months ago,” he said.
The 2016 European champion is currently 23rd in the Olympic qualification rankings and many of the athletes above him have already secured automatic quota places for their countries. But he is determined to put permutations to the back of his mind.
“I am not a person who deep-dives into stats or ranking points,” he said. “I know if I do my job and focus on the factors that positively impact on my performance my objectives should be met. I have a great performance team whom I trust with such calculations.
“I am physically and mentally prepared enough that a positive result would not surprise me, although I am aware that I have felt this way in the past and not come back with the result I wanted or expected.
“I know being ready is no guarantee of a result, you have to make it happen and seize the opportunity. I will do my best and that is all I can do at the end of the day.”
Like his fiancée Natalya Coyle and team-mate Sive Brassil, Lanigan-O’Keeffe has received extensive support during the long break in competition since his podium success in Cairo last March, and he paid tribute to the people who have kept him in contention for his shot at a third Olympics.
“Arriving at a competition ready to perform is not an individual effort,” he said. “There are many moving parts to achieving this physical and mental state, especially after a year living with a pandemic, it’s like the iceberg that sunk the Titanic.
“There are far too many people to mention everyone but big mentions would have to go to my fiancée and training partner Natalya Coyle, coaches (Steve Macklin, Martina McCarthy and Andrei Fedotov), Sport Ireland and a particular sponsor who has supported me through every high and low in my career.
“I can’t wait to get started.”