Natalya Coyle continues to improve her World rankings towards her goal of Olympic qualification. Having only started to compete at International level 18 months ago, its just reward to the faith the National Federation, the Olympic Council and the Sports Council have in her programme. Natalya at the weekend finished 32nd in the World Championship Final. As usual the final began with fencing and Natalya was in fantastic form while others seemed to be suffering from nerves. With quick and powerful attacks, Natalya caught many of the top athletes off guard (including current Olympic Champion Lena Schonbern) and quickly notched up 10 victories and just 3 defeats and putting her high on the leader board. The high quality field meant that despite Natalya continue efforts she couldn’t maintain this form as others settled from their earlier nerves and Natalya from a bit of fatigue. Natalya finished the fencing with a very respectable 14victories and 21defeats for 736 pentathlon points and in 29th position.
Onto the pool and Natalya was seeded in lane 6 in the third of five heats. Natalya, who swam a personal best (2:20,12) in the qualifying competition was determined to break the 2:20 barrier for the first time. Despiste setting a new personal best (2:20,11) she was just short of the 2:20 mark. At this point, it’s important to note that is the first time that Natalya has swam faster in the final than in the semi final which shows that she is getting much stronger and fitter from her training and is a great boost for her confidence. Natalya’s time was the 21st quickest in the competition and gave her 1120 pentathlon points and saw her move up one place on the overall leader board to 28th after the swimming.
Natalya drew a lovely grey for the show jumping round who had gone round the test round clear until a stop at fence number 11. Natayla entered the main arena determined that the horse wouldn’t repeat that stop. She rode a wonderful round and just roled two poles, giving her a score of 1160 pentathlon points and the 10th best performance in the arena. With other athletes having more costly rounds, Natalya capitalised and moved up the leader board to 23rd position after three events.
Starting in 23rd postition and 1minute 1.23 behind the overall competition leader, Natalya had a tough task to maintain her position as many of the athletes around her were vying for points for the team competition. Natalya, who shot a perfect 15 from 15 in the semi finals, has high standards in the shooting and was disspointed with her times of 19, 21 and 19 for the three series. After a long day’s competition and her efforts in the qualifying competition, Natalya didn’t have much left in the tank for the running and struggled to keep up with the pace. She crossed the finish line in 32nd position. Natalya was obviously dissappointed to loose so much ground in the combined event but her time of 12:20 was respectable.
After only beginning to compete internationally 18months ago, finishing in 32nd position at the Senior World Championships is an incrediable achievement. There were glimpses of brilliance in the fencing and so much potential in the other events that Natalya Coyle should hold her head high and say that “I am the 32nd best in the World”, not many other Irish athletes can have this claim.
Many of the coaching staff from other nations have commented on the performance of the Irish athlete’s at this championship. They are all impressed with the level at which our athletes are now performing and understand that we are no longer here just to make up numbers and are now capable of being competitive at a senior level. Let’s hope this will be the case when Natalya and Arthur team up for the mixed relay competition on Monday.
For more information:
UIPM – www.pentathlon.org – live tv
Pentathlon Ireland – www.pentathlon.ie
Facebook – search “Pentathlon Ireland” in pages
Twitter – @Pent_Ireland, @NatalyaCoyle, @eannabailey