Natalya Coyle Selected for her Third Olympic Games in Tokyo
Team Ireland has officially selected Modern Pentathlete Natalya Coyle for her third Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer. Coyle confirmed her spot at the European Championships in Bath in 2019, and has demonstrated top form in recent weeks, finishing 5th in the UIPM Pentathlon World Cup Final in Hungary last month. The competition in Tokyo is one of the final events on the schedule, and the women’s event runs from 5 – 6 August 2021.
Coyle (born 11 December 1990), a native and resident of Tara in Meath, finished 9th at London 2012 and 6th at Rio 2016. She is a two-time World Cup silver medallist and two-time World Cup Final winner in the mixed relay alongside Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe. A former member of Meath Hunt Pony Club, she started competing in international modern pentathlon aged 16, having taken up horse riding before being introduced to the other disciplines.
The Team Ireland Modern Pentathlon announcement coincides with Olympic Day, and is one of the oldest events on the programme, a sport invented by the founder of the Modern Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin. It is based on a variation of the military aspect of the ancient pentathlon, and focuses on the skills required by soldiers in the late 19th century. Athletes compete in swimming, showjumping (on an unknown horse), fencing, and Laser Run (combined running and shooting). In Tokyo the competition takes place in two different venues, Musashino Forest Sport Plaza for the fencing and Tokyo Stadium for the remainder of the competition.
Speaking about her selection Coyle said,
“It is always special going to the Olympics, and with this being my third Games, I am still really excited to compete. Each Games is a unique experience, and Tokyo will be the most different really, for so many reasons. The extra year has worked well for me, it gave me an extra bit of time to work on my running and fencing, so I am really confident heading into the Games, and looking forward to competing.”
Team Ireland Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020, Tricia Heberle said,
“Natalya qualified for Tokyo early in the Olympic cycle and her resolve and focus during the last 2 years has been fantastic. To represent your country in an Olympic Games is an outstanding achievement, to be going to your third is testament to the commitment it takes to compete at international level year in, year out. We welcome Natalya to the team and know she will do Ireland proud in Tokyo.”
Team Ireland Modern Pentathlon Performance Director, Martina McCarthy said,
“Despite incredibly challenging circumstances this year Natalya has remained steadfast in her singular focus of preparing to compete in what will be her third Olympic Games.
“Natalya has worked tirelessly with her support team to ensure that she will be arriving in Tokyo in a position to deliver on the performance goals she has set for herself.
“We as a team are looking forward to arriving in Japan and maximising our last few weeks of preparation and training leading into the Games.”
Coyle’s teammate from London and Rio, Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe, was also awarded a quota spot in the men’s event, and formally declined the position due to injury, saying,
“Unfortunately, due to injury, I am unable to compete to the standard I hold myself to, and believe this spot would be better suited to another athlete who is fit and ready for the challenge.”
“Team Ireland are disappointed to hear the news of Arthur’s injury. To be so close to the Games and not be going is no doubt devastating. We wish Arthur all the best for his immediate recovery and look forward to seeing what he will do next in his career.”
Team Ireland now consists of 45 officially selected athletes, with 98 athletes spots confirmed SEE HERE. The final team announcement is scheduled for the beginning of July. The Olympic Games in Tokyo will run from the 23rd July to 8th August 2021.