Natalya Coyle produced a fabulous all-round performance in Friday’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 12 August.
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, but she dropped to 10th on the overall leaderboard.
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 to eighth position.
Starting just 27 seconds 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.
Eanna Bailey will be flying the flag for Ireland today as he starts in the Men’s final. Bailey, 21, will make his debut in a European final after successfully qualifying for the Men’s final with placing 17th in his qualification group.