Natalya Coyle produced a fabulous all round performance in yesterday’s women’s final to finish in 11th place at the European Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The 21 year old Irish athlete, whose place at the Olympic Games was confirmed earlier this month, showed impressive form ahead of the London 2012 competition on August 12th.
Coyle safely negotiated the qualification competition on Wednesday and was in a positive mood for yesterday’s final. An assured display in the fencing hall saw her finish 8th on the leader board with 19 victories and 15 defeats for a total of 888 pentathlon points.
After a personal best swim performance in the qualification competitions, Coyle was seeded in the second fastest swim heat. Holding her own she equalled her performance from Wednesday and posted a time of 2:19.38 for 1128 pentathlon points. Her time was the 13th quickest in the field but saw her drop to 10th on the overall leader board.
In the searing Sofia heat, the riding course held up well and with many athletes going clear Coyle needed to produce a good round to keep her top 10 placing. An excellent clear round and inside the allotted course time ensured that she bagged the maximum 1200 points. Misfortune for other athletes around her meant she moved up the leader board to 8th position.
Starting just 27seconds behind the competition leader and with a top 10 finish on the cards the pressure was on for the Irish athlete to produce in the final run/shoot event. A solid first shoot of 18 seconds didn’t change her position in the field but with the high heat, she lost ground as she sensibly paced the first 1km run.
A nervy second shoot (21 seconds) saw her lose touch with the leaders but hold her own on the second run lap. A fantastic third shoot of 15 seconds saw her leave the range in 12th position for the final 1km run and a superb sprint finish saw her claw back one place to finish in 11th position.