Irish Modern Pentathlon Natalya Coyle’s blog

London (Well a dress rehearsal)

Last time we talked I was in Poland at a training camp, since then I began something which I really enjoy (though it can be quite frustrating)..Tapering!! This was all in aid of the biggest competition of my career, the London World Cup Final, held last week in Greenwich Park. To say I was nervous would definitely be an underestimation…!!

I headed to Bath the week before to fine tune and focus, (Bath is the home for the British Modern Pentathlon squad one of the best squads in the World). Fortunately the Canadian team were there as well who kept me company as well as the Brits.

We travelled up to London on the Friday (the Men’s competition was on Saturday and the Women’s on Sunday) and got to go out to the venue in the afternoon for the test ride (The test ride is when all the horses used in the competition are jumped over the course giving us a chance to see them go round).

The venue in Greenwich is amazing to say the least! For spectators who only see the arena and combined course it’s hard to imagine what’s going on in the background, all the stables, a warm up arena, athletes zone as well as everything else.

Saturday was spent going through weapon control (all our epees, wires and masks are checked to see that they pass safety regulations as well as our guns.. sometimes this can take awhile as weapons can have a mind of their own and decide not to work which mine did :)) and basically getting nervous but my coaches managed to keep me sane. Then came Sunday…

The day started horrifically early (I am NOT a morning person) at 5.30, where I ate a huge breakfast and then travelled to the first venue Crystal Palace. Here the fencing and swimming was to be held where as the combined and riding is held in Greenwich, in the Olympics the fencing will be held in the handball Stadium and the swimming in the aquatic centre (so really Pentathlon is the best ticket as you get to see 3 venues for the price of 1!!).

Fencing didn’t start so smoothly with defeats being numerous, but it picked up throughout and I ended up on 50:50 into joint 12th place. Something people ask me when I talk about fencing is ‘is it warm?’, the answer..YES!! The doors were thrown open but nothing can help as you boil like a lobster in the white Kevlar suits.

After this I was only informed that my family had arrived, this was the first competition they had seen so they were hanging around in the background in case they distracted me! After this I went straight to swimming were I was seeded in the slowest heat due to my previous times, but I’m happily able to say this didn’t stop me as I blasted out and led the swim from start to finish posting a PB time and placing 17th.

Then we travelled over to Greenwich where I will admit I had a sneaky nap on the bus and awaited the horse draw. Unfortunately I was drawn a difficult horse but thats the nature of the competition and you just have to get on with it, taking many poles in the round I ended that event on a low score but I still had my favourite event left.

I started the combined in 21st position and pulled up one spot to 20th, it was really exciting as now that we are using laser gun we could shoot facing the crowd! The running course was all basically uphill so it was a killer but crossing the line, as I lay on the ground gasping for air, I was really happy.

I left London the next morning and headed straight to Budapest for a training camp as Europeans are only a week away now. Most of our camps are International training camps so lots of different nations are there, in Tata there were; Spanish, Egyptians, French, Hungarians, Slovakians and probably more! So now I’m back home for a week before I head to Senior Europeans in Medway, England. Where the top 8 have an automatic qualification for London!

That’s all I think…

Tal x

You can follow Natalya on will have live score updates on all GAA Championship matches over the summer.


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