Former equestrian Natalya Coyle has become the first Irish athlete to qualify for the Olympics in modern pentathlon, as confirmed by the world governing body, the Union International de Pentathlon Modern (UIPM) at the weekend.
“To qualify for the Olympics really is a dream come true. I’ve worked so hard to get there and now I’m excited to get a good block of training done in the run up to the competition,” Coyle said.
But Coyle’s wait for her moment to shine will be longer than most other Irish athletes as the women’s modern pentathlon medals will be the last ones awarded in the London Olympic Games, on Sunday, August 12.
The 21-year-old Meath athlete, who only started competing in the sport on an international level in 2009, will compete in modern pentathlon’s centenary Olympic competition in London 2012.
“Natalya’s qualification is not only a result of all her hard work and dedication but it’s been a massive team effort,” said Performance Director Lindsey Weedon.
“Our High Performance Programme only began in 2010 and to have made such phenomenal progress in just two years is testament to all those who have helped us out along the way.”
Pentathlon Ireland is affiliated to Horse Sport Ireland and their Chairman Joe Walsh said Natalya’s qualification was a great tribute to the work of so many people.
“Pentathlon Ireland is an entirely voluntary organisation and its officers have achieved something remarkable. In addition, Natalya started her athletic career through the Tetrathlon discipline in the Irish Pony Club and they deserve huge credit for this too. The support of the Irish Sports Council and the Olympic Council of Ireland has also been vital,” he said.