Over 400 people from 28 different countries helped put pentathlon further on the Dublin sporting map last weekend as Trinity College hosted the UIPM 2018 Laser Run World Championships.
Among the medals were Dubliners Kate Coleman Lenehan and Tom O’Brien teaming up to secure bronze in the mixed relay.
Both athletes had won individual silver on Saturday and they came within a few seconds of emulating that feat but this time Harry Lane of Great Britain got the better of his cross-channel rival O’Brien on the final 800m lap of the relay.
The result was that Ireland claimed bronze behind silver medallists Great Britain (Lane/Jessica Varley) and champions Hungary (Bence Kardos/Blanka Guzi), taking their medal tally for the championships to five.
On day one, as well as the two individual silvers, Ireland had won team gold in the senior women’s event (Coleman Lenehan, Eilidh Prise and Grace Culhane) and silver in the girls’ Under-19 category (Culhane, Grace Costello and Leah O’Neill).
The championships ended with a mass-participation charity team relay, raising funds for the LauraLynn Foundation, and Ireland’s medal heroes ended a successful weekend by calling on more people of all ages to take up Laser Run and possibly progress towards Modern Pentathlon.
Reflecting on her third medal, Coleman Lenehan said: “After yesterday we really felt it in the legs, but it was great to win another medal.
“After yesterday, when we didn’t expect to win anything, today there was an expectation. There were some very fast people out there but, being at home also helped because we had everyone rooting for us.
“This sport is so accessible: you can run anywhere you want and Pentathlon Ireland are trying to get more of the laser equipment so that we can get more people into the sport.”
Ballybrack man O’Brien added: “The team is really important to us. There are loads of us, we are all doing really well and we have younger people coming through. What we are trying to do is set a good example and hopefully inspire them to compete.
“You can run anywhere, and for anyone who wants to try it, don’t be put off by not having the laser gun. Come to us at Blanchardstown Sports Campus and you can practise as much as you want for free.”
For Paddy Boyd, CEO of Pentathlon Ireland, he paid tribute to all involved in the organisation of a weekend saying: “The 2018 Laser Run World Championships were a great triumph and our thanks go to our fantastic volunteers and staff who worked so hard to make it a success.
“Trinity College Dublin was a magnificent venue for this global sporting event.
“The profile of Modern Pentathlon has already grown considerably in this country thanks to the performance of our elite athletes, especially our Olympians and World Cup medallists Natalya Coyle and Arthur Lanigan O’Keeffe, and the support we have received from Sport Ireland.
“Now we can say that we have firmly put Laser Run on the map in Ireland and I hope many people will be inspired to take up the sport on the back of what they have seen this weekend.”