Monday 24 June 2019

Natalya Coyle claims seventh after dramatic finish to the Modern Pentathlon

Sean McGoldrick

Meath's Natalya Coyle finished a credible seventh in the Modern Penathon at the Rio Olympics tonight.

Ninth in the London Olympics four years ago, 25 year old Coyle was lying sixth overall going into the final event – a combined cross-country/shooting event in which the leader starts first with her challengers in pursuit.

After a 3,200m run in a stadium where earlier they competed in the show-jumping discipline, the competitors have to stop after each 800 metres in order to shoot down five targets with a pistol. Coyle slipped to seventh with a total of 1325 points

Australian Chloe Esposito, who started the final event in sixth, reserved her best form until it mattered most and she took the gold medal and had a winning total of 1372 points

As it was French baron, Pierre de Coubertin, who not just conceived the idea but was the driving force behind the first modern Olympics in 1896, it was probably fitting that he was allowed conceive a brand new sport called the Modern Pentathlon.

Coubertin took his inspiration from the pentathlon event in the ancient Olympics Games which was based around the skills of the ideal soldier at the time.

The Modern Pentathlon stimulates the experience of a 19th century cavalry solder behind enemy lines: they must ride an unfamiliar horse, fight with pistol and sword, swim and run.

An Olympic event since Stockholm in 1912, it now consists epee fencing; 200m freestyle swimming, show jumping and four 800m runs with a shooting competition in which the competitors have to shoot down five targets at a range of 50m.

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