“I saw the Hungarian girl fall off – that got me a little nervous knowing I had to ride that horse”
Ireland’s Natalya Coyle produced a clear show jumping round on her way to a 7th place finish in the women’s Modern Pentathlon at Rio yesterday. Coyle finished on a total of 1325 in the event which was won by Australia’a Chloe Esposito on 1372, with France’s Elodie Clouvel taking Silver ahead of Polish contender Oktawia Nowacka.
The Irish athlete was one of only 5 out of 36 competitors who managed fault-free rounds in the show jumping element for which the riders only get to mount their horses for the first time twenty minutes before jumping.
Coyle acknowledged that the show jumping is a daunting element of the contest, but said she was delighted with her clear round. “It is terrifying, but today was probably the most relaxed I’d been,” she said. “I’ve worked a lot with Brian Duff at home and we have John Ledingham out with us and he kept me calm. It was a really tight time so I knew I had to take some inside lines. I saw the Hungarian girl fall off – that got me a little nervous knowing I had to ride that horse. He helped me and then I think I helped him. I heard the crowd going afterwards and I was delighted.”
Modern Pentathlon involves fencing, swimming, show jumping, shooting and running and has been part of the Olympic Games for over 100 years.
Coyle was speaking with RTE’s Damien O’Reillly in Rio last night and said that she had wanted to win a medal but was nonetheless delighted with her performance. “Everyone wants to win a medal. I would have loved to have finished higher but I’m just so happy with seventh.”
Coyle paid tribute to OCI’s Giles Warrington and Pentathlon Ireland High Performance Coach Andy MacKenzie, “We have a really good support team. I don’t think you could do it without the team around us.”
Ireland’s Arthur Lanigan O’Keeffe goes in the men’s Modern Pentathlon today. Lanigan O’Keeffe won Gold in the European Championships in 2015 and chose not to defend his title this year with the Olympic Games in mind. Together with Coyle he won Gold in the Mixed Relay at the Modern Pentathlon World Cup in Florida in May. The Mixed Relay is not part of the Olympic games but is expected to be included for Tokyo. Mike Dunne.