Natalya Coyle crosses the finish line in Cairo in medal position Picture: UIPM / Nuno Goncalves

 stephen findlater
sport@dublingazette.com

Former King’s Hospital student Natalya Coyle produced a stunning start to the UIPM Pentathlon World Cup by landing a silver medal in Cairo, Egypt this week.

The Olympian put in an epic laser run to break into the medals, picking off two of her main rivals to land the medal and set herself up for the year ahead.

“It feels fantastic – I’m absolutely delighted to come away with silver. It’s my second major individual medal so what a way to start the season,” Coyle said of the result.

It follows her break-out season in 2018 when she won a silver in Sofia, Bulgaria and ended up just outside the medals in fourth at the World Cup final in Kazakhstan.

In Cairo, Coyle was 15th fastest in the swimming pool after a 200m swim of 2 minutes 19.58 seconds, but it was in the fencing arena that she catapulted herself into medal contention.

A return of 23 victories and 12 defeats gave her 238 points – the fourth-best performance on that element of the competition.

Coyle went on to be one of 11 riders to enjoy a clean run in the equestrian segment, and the resulting 300 points moved her into third place overall.

A solid Laser Run time of 12:42.20 saw her stay hot on the heels of gold medallist Uliana Batashova of Russia, eventually finishing 11 seconds behind the champion but comfortably ahead of former world champion Sarolta Kovacs of Hungary (bronze), Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist Elodie Clouvel of France (4th) and 2018 world champion Anastasiya Prokopenko of Belarus (5th).

“I thought it was a good day,” reflecting on her performances. “I was a second slower in the pool but my fencing was good and I rode a clear round. I think everybody had a bit of a nightmare on the shooting range so I was absolutely delighted to come away with second.

“I’m really over the moon with it. It’s great to see that a good winter training has paid off and my major focus is the European Championships, where I’m aiming to get a qualifying position for Tokyo.

“That’s the big aim for this year.”

Coyle and fellow World Cup medallist Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe are both recipients of podium funding from the Irish Sports Council having been identified as strong medal prospects for the Tokyo Olympics next year.

There is one place at the Games available for each gender at the World Cup Final in Tokyo in June but there are greater qualifying opportunities at the World Championships in Budapest in September and the European Championships in Bath in August.