Natalya Coyle and Sive Brassil made a satisfying start to Olympic year with strong performances in the women’s final at UIPM 2021 Pentathlon World Cup Budapest.
The Irish duo went to Hungary with different goals, with Coyle already qualified for the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics and Brassil looking to earn ranking points at every competition this season.
Two-time Olympian Coyle showed all of her class to overcome a “rusty” performance in fencing to finish seventh, while Brassil also finished the day strongly to place 18th out of the 36 finalists.
Meath pentathlete Coyle, 30, said afterwards: “I’m really delighted with a seventh place in the first competition of the year. I was a little rusty in the fencing but it came right at the end.
“I’m really happy with where my physicals are after the time off and over the moon to have a strong first competition after over a year off. I can’t wait to build for the year to come.”
Brassil, 27, was the faster of the Irish duo in swimming, with her time of 2min 12.51sec slightly quicker than Coyle’s 2:13.39 and ranking her 13th overall.
Again the Galway athlete overshadowed her more illustrious team-mate in fencing, scoring 21 victories from her 35 bouts compared to Coyle’s 19. But nobody in the field could come close to matching the exploits of Great Britain’s Kate French, who scored a world record 31 victories on her way to gold.
Riding provided a painful reality check for Brassil, as she incurred 75 penalty points to plummet down the leaderboard, whereas Coyle stayed on course for a top-10 finish with just two faults for a score of 285.
Starting the Laser Run in 11th and 20th respectively, both Irish athletes showed the benefit of their pre-season fitness work, Coyle by four places and Brassil by two with times of 12:17.10 and 12:09.30 respectively.
Ireland’s interest in the competition is now over as Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe was unable to reach the men’s final. The next stop on the Pentathlon World Cup Circuit is a double-header in Sofia, Bulgaria in April.