Ilya Palazkov crosses the finish line to seal Belarussian success in the mixed relay ©UIPM

Belarus’ Ilya Palazkov and Katsiaryna Arol made home advantage count as they claimed the mixed relay title at the International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) World Cup Final in Minsk.

A strong win in the fencing saw the duo shoot straight to the top of the leaderboard and they remained there throughout, with Irish pair Arthur Lanigan O'Keefe and Natalya Coyle finishing just behind.

"We were very happy to have such a strong start to the competition and continue that to finish so strongly too,” said Palazkov.

“It is wonderful to be the World Cup Series winner.

"They say that your home is your castle and we are very happy to win here in our home of Belarus.

“Our country have provided excellent facilities and we are very thankful for it.

“We would also like to thank our family and all the fans for their support."

Arthur Lanigan O'Keefe helped Ireland to a second place finish
Arthur Lanigan O'Keefe helped Ireland to a second place finish ©UIPM

Palazkov and Arol led the way from the start with 26 wins in the fencing, while sitting just two behind them in second were Lanigan O'Keefe and Coyle, followed by Russia's Ilya Shugarov and Ekaterina Khuraskina on 23.

Into the pool, and a time of 1 min 56.95sec for Lanigan-O'Keefe and Coyle earned them first place in the swimming event, keeping them in second overall.

South Korea's Woongtae Jun and Mina Jeong finished just 0.05 seconds behind the Irish to move into third place. 

A sixth-place finish for Palazkov and Arol maintained their position at the top of the leaderboard heading in to the riding arena, where a clear round saw Mexicans Alvaro Sandoval and Mayan Oliver take first place.

Despite finishing sixth in the riding as well, it was Palazkov and Arol who continued to head the standings with a sizeable 28 second head start for the combined event over Shugarov and Khuraskina, who moved up to second overall after three events. 

The combined event played out as expected with Palazkov the first male to cross the line, building on a strong start from his female team mate Arol.

A strong run/shoot from Lanigan O'Keefe ensured the Irish finished second to take silver with Jun snatching bronze from the Russians.

The next event at the UIPM World Cup Final is due to be the women's individual on Saturday (June 13).

Related stories
May 2015: 
Asadauskaitė looks set for golden hat trick at Modern Pentathlon World Cup Final in Minsk
May 2015: Tóth and Marosi earn home mixed relay gold to end Modern Pentathlon World Cup
May 2015: France's Belaud clinches men's title at Modern Pentathlon World Cup
May 2015: Foldhazi takes Modern Pentathlon World Cup women's title on home soil
April 2015: South Korea take mixed relay gold at Modern Pentathlon World Cup