Trinity College Dublin played host to the World Laser Run Championship over the weekend and saw five Irish medals across the two days of competition.
More than 400 athletes of all ages from 28 countries around the world had come to Dublin for the event, which kicked off with a Civic Reception at the Mansion House on Friday and ended with a view that this was a sport now firmly on the map in Ireland.
Laser Run is the final component of the Olympic sport of Modern Pentathlon and a sport in its own right with a burgeoning global profile.
Natalya Coyle and Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe, ranked No.6 and No.3 respectively in the world in Modern Pentathlon, did not take part in the Championship after their summer of success at World Cup level in the overall sport.
They were present for the weekend though and spoke glowingly about the prospects for this one element.
“I think it’s really important to host any event in Ireland. It’s nice because we’ve worked really hard across the years to put Ireland on the map as a pentathlon nation,” said Coyle.
“When we were younger we didn’t have any events like this to compete in here in Ireland, especially when we were starting out. Normally it’s a little bit costly to travel abroad, whereas you’ve got this happening right in the centre of Dublin.”
“It’s really interesting because Laser Run and things like the Urban Games can open up the sport to a totally different audience, so it can only be a positive thing.”
“It used to be more of a minority sport, but the awareness of pentathlon in Ireland is definitely on the increase and hopefully it can keep growing.”
Domestically, Laser Run taster events have taken place across Ireland this year while, on a global scale, the sport will form part of the programme of the 1st Urban Games in 2019.
A decision on where those games will be held will be made between bids from Tokyo, Barcelona and Budapest in the coming weeks and given the success of this weekend, they could yet prove a viable target for Dublin to go after as a major event.
It will be a downtown, five-day celebration featuring a new generation of sports likely to include 3X3 Basketball, Laser-Run, Parkour and Skateboarding.
“It’s absolutely fantastic to have an international event of this nature here and it’s a great boost to the city,” said Dublin Lord Mayor Nial Ring.
“Our movement is developing strongly in Ireland and there are athletes here who are excellent ambassadors for the sport and always competing well in World Cups and World Championships,” said Dr Klaus Schormann, President of the World Modern Pentathlon Governing Body the UIPM.
“It’s the fourth time we are running this very important event and I was very happy when I saw the number of participants who have come from around the world.”
“The sport is becoming more and more popular around the world and this year we had more than 100 cities around the world hosting the Global Laser Run City Tour.”
“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,” said Pentathlon Ireland CEO Paddy Boyd.
“Trinity College Dublin was a magnificent venue for this global sporting event, which attracted more than 400 athletes from 28 countries to our capital city.”
“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.”