The second World Cup event of 2011 saw record number of entries to the competition resulting in a tough qualification competition with several of the World’s best athletes missing out. Despite missing the mark, all Irish athletes had positive aspects to their performances and a lot was learned by the young athletes.
With 86 women competing in Sassari, qualification was split into three semi-finals rather than the usual two. That meant the pressure was really on, with athletes having to secure a top-12 finish in each semi rather than a top-18 place to progress to Saturday’s final. Ireland’s Natalya Coyle began in the pool where she had had an initial set back when her race suit ripped whilst she was changing. A swift change in to an athlete’s spare training suit is not ideal preparation for a race and Natalya posted a time of 2.21.27, somewhat off the pace of what she would be hoping for. Despite her disappointment with her performances she was ranked in 19th place but only 50 points shy of the 12th placed athlete.
Natalya headed to the fencing with a determined mind set to make up the difference. She fenced extremely well throughout the 2hour competition, winning 50percent of her fights with 14 victories and 14 defeats. This gave her 808 pentathlon points and was the 11th best fencing score in her group. This moved her up to 16th position overall.
At the start of the combined event, Natalya was in 16th position and just 13 seconds behind the athlete in 12th place. Unfortunately a small malfunction with her pistol placed some doubt in her mind and she was unable to execute her usual high standard of shooting and she fell out of qualification contention after the first shoot. On a positive note, her running was much stronger than it has been in previous competitions and shows that her training is beginning to pay off. Her strong finish in the run saw her take a couple of athletes in the last 200m and Natalya finished the qualification in 18th position.