As we mentioned in our earlier bulletin, Natalya Coyle will compete in the final at the first World Cup event of 2012 at Charlotte, USA on Saturday after her 12th place finishing in the qualification competition on Thursday night.
With the top 12 athletes from three qualification groups making the cut, Coyle squeezed through while several top names fell short of the mark.
Coyle began in the fencing hall, fencing each of the other 23 athletes for one touch. She successfully hit 10 opponents but was defeated by 13, giving her a pentathlon points score of 760 and placing her in 16th position overall.
Moving to the swimming pool, Coyle showed huge courage and determination to post a personal best time of 2:19.33 for 1128 pentathlon points, moving her up the leader board to 14th position.
For the combined run/shoot event, athletes begin at timed intervals according to their points handicap from the previous two events.
Coyle began in 14th position, 1minute 11 seconds behind the overall lead and needed to make up 9seconds on the athlete in 12th position who occupied the final qualification spot. Despite excellent shooting and running, Coyle remained in 14th position approaching the final shoot.
Her final shoot saw her leave the range in 13th position and quickly make up ground over a struggling Czech athlete, moving her into 12th position. Coyle ran well over the last 1km loop to hold off the fast running British athlete, Freya Prentice, and claim the last qualification place.
Coyle is one of 36 athletes who qualified for Saturday’s final. No scores are carried over from the qualification rounds so athletes compete again in fencing, swimming, combined run/shoot and also the show jumping discipline.
Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe and Eanna Bailey have both been drawn in qualification group B for the men’s competition tonight . Both will be looking to emulate Coyle’s gutsy performance to make it through to the men’s final on Sunday.
The World Cup competition is being streamed live at: www.pentathlon.org