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Heartbreak for Natalya Coyle as unlucky horse draw derails Olympic medal hopes

Coyle finished in 24th place overall, with Britain’s Kate French winning gold.

Natalya Coyle's medal bid was derailed when she was drawn to partner Constantin.
Natalya Coyle's medal bid was derailed when she was drawn to partner Constantin.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Updated Aug 6th 2021, 11:27 AM

Updated 12.35

NATALYA COYLE FINISHED 24th in the Olympic modern pentathlon after her medal hopes unravelled with a heartbreaking setback in the showjumping round.

After an outstanding start in the fencing and swimming disciplines, Coyle sat in fourth position and within touching distance of the medals ahead of the showjumping and combined run/shoot finale.

But she dropped to 19th place when the horse that she was paired with, Constantin, refused at three of the fences, giving Coyle a score of 234 points out of a possible 300.

That left Coyle to start the run/shoot with a 64-second disadvantage, and she finished in 13:08.51 to leave her in 24th with an overall score of 1268 points.

Britain’s Kate French took gold with an Olympic record of 1385 points, finishing the run/shoot 15 seconds ahead of silver medallist Laura Asadauskaite of Lithuania who scored 1370 points.

Hungary’s Sarolta Kovacs took bronze with 1368 points, finishing her run/shoot two seconds behind Asadauskaite.


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In the showjumping round, each of the 36 athletes is randomly assigned one of the 18 competition horses of varying ability and temperament.

Uzbekistan’s Alise Fakhrutdinova was the other finalist selected to ride Constantin and was given an equally torrid time by the horse, scoring 226 points.

Germany’s Annika Schleu, who was in gold medal position with a commanding lead ahead of the showjumping, was left in tears when her horse Saint Boy failed to complete the course for both her and for the ROC’s Gulnaz Gubaydullina.

Schleu’s medal hopes were destroyed in the process as she dropped from 1st to 31st place,  holding that position at the end of the run/shoot.

About the author:

Niall Kelly

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