Penathlon’s King Coyle

by Gazette Reporter
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FORMER King’s Hospital student Natalya Coyle believes the sky is the limit for her at the Rio Olympics following some hugely impressive recent results.
She finished sixth in both the women’s and mixed pentathlon relay at the European Championships and will be hoping to carry that form to the pinnacle of her sport in August.
Last month saw Coyle officially confirmed for Rio. It came at the end of a long year for her where she competed in as many events as possible in order to book her place on the plane to Brazil.
“I remember trying to qualify for London; it was all a bit mad. I was chasing points and I had to go to China for competition. I knew sitting on the plane over that it was either going to be the best flight home or the worst flight home – and it’s a very long flight,” said Coyle.
The modern pentathlon takes place at the end of the Olympics – leaving Coyle with a lot of downtime but she’s concerned about that. “We’ll be in a holding camp about an hour away from Rio. Everything we need will be there and the facilities are great so it will be relaxed.”
Coyle will be competing as an individual at Rio – with the relay not at an Olympic event at the moment – but she teamed up with Sive Brassil in the women’s and Arthur Lanigan-O’Keefe in the mixed, in what were two impressive performances.
Modern Pentathlon is referred to as the true Olympic sport, with its origin based around what the founder of the games perceived as the attributes required for a soldier to escape from behind enemy lines. It is competed in five phases – fencing, swimming, riding, shooting and running.
Coyle comes from an equestrian background and didn’t start competing internationally until she was in fifth year in school, just three years before qualifying for London 2012.
Although she is left-handed, she shoots with her right because a right-handed gun was all that was available at the club when she first started shooting, and it seemed pointless to change once she had become used to it.
Lanigan-O’Keefe will also compete at Rio and their head coach of Pentathlon Ireland’s High Performance Programme Andy MacKenzie praised their performances. “Both athletes have made continuous improvement over the last four years, and are extremely proud and excited to be representing Ireland for the second time at the Olympics.”
Coyle is credited with helping to put the pentathlon on the map in Ireland when she competed at London 2012 when she was just 21. She set personal bests in each sport at those games and her aim for Rio is to do the same again.

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