Eight athletes will represent Ireland at the Modern Pentathlon European Championships in Bath this week.
There are direct spots for the Olympic Games in Rio next year available for both the top eight male and female athletes. 2012 Olympians Natalya Coyle and Arthur Lanigan-O’ Keeffe, in particular, will have their eyes set firmly on those spots. In 2012, they both secured Olympic qualification in the year of the games whereas qualification this year would make for a smoother 12-months in preparation for Rio.
The squad has been in intensive training, specifically in fencing, over the past weeks in Paris and England in preparation for this week. High Performance Director Andy Mackenzie is confident ahead of the event “To qualify directly for the Rio Olympic Games, our athletes have to finish in the top eight. Natalya and Arthur have the quality to qualify and, as long as they focus on the processes and not the result, I am very confident that they will. 2015 has been a very positive season so far with Natalya and Arthur in really good form. Our preparation for the European Championships has gone well and I’m excited to get this competition underway”
“I’ve had a really good training block since the World championships and I’m looking forward to going into Europeans. I hope I can perform to the best of my ability and then who knows what will happen!” Natalya Coyle, who finished in 9th place at the London games in 2012.
“I have been preparing for this competition all year, putting in the hard work day in day out and I’m feeling better than ever. I am really excited to compete. In my head I know I’m good enough for a top 8 finish if things go my way, fingers crossed!” says Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe
The event started on Tuesday with the mixed relay, an event which Ireland has won three silver medals this year. Natalya and Arthur, who are ranked World Number 1 in the Mixed Relay, did not compete as a pair in the relay this week so as they can rest for the semi-final qualifications instead. Instead, we were represented by Tom O’Brien and Kate Coleman-Lenehan who finished in 9th position. The Ladies relay takes place on Wednesday, followed by the individual semi-finals on Thursday and Friday and finals over the weekend. Ireland will not enter a team into the Men’s relay in order to rest the athletes for the semi-finals.
Mixed Relay team: Kate Coleman-Lenehan and Tom O’ Brien
Ladies Relay team: Sally McCarthy and Jenny McGeever
Men’s Individual: Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe, Eanna Bailey, Tom O’Brien
Women’s Individual: Natalya Coyle, Sive Brassil, Kate Coleman-Lenehan and Sally McCarthy/Jenny McGeever
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