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20th Oct 2021

What’s next for Irish modern pentathlete Natalya Coyle?

Sarah McKenna Barry

Her caught up with the Olympian to chat athletics, academics and her plans for the future.

This summer, Irish athlete Natalya Coyle flew to Tokyo to represent Ireland at the 2020 Olympics.

There, Natalya competed in the modern pentathlon for the third time. The sport consists of five events; fencing, freestyle swimming, equestrian showjumping and finally, a combined event that involves pistol shooting and cross-country running.

A sport of this nature, no doubt, involves a carefully constructed training regimen, which Natalya has in place.

“It’s done very well, it’s balanced by the performance director and myself, and we all work together,” she tells Her.

“You’ve to really focus on certain events. I spend a lot of weekends fencing and running because they’re the two main events, and then I swim around that and do shooting and horse-riding on top of that as well, so it’s very full on.”

While her schedule remains busy, Natalya explains that the sport appealed to her because of its variety.

“There’s a never dull day in training!” she says.

Natalya has a particular passion for the fencing event.

“That’s something I do individually as well, so I really, really enjoy that. I’m going to be part of a fencing club here when things settle down a little bit, and then I’ll probably do that for the next while.”

As well as her athletic pursuits, Natalya’s academic and work schedule also keeps her busy.

She recently became a brand ambassador for O’Brien’s Sandwich Cafés, and is balancing work commitments with her Masters’ in Sustainable Economics Policy, which she first became interested in last year.

The pandemic lead Natalya to explore other possible paths, and after taking a few courses, she decided to pursue a MA.

“I just took the plunge into something really different, so it’s definitely out of my comfort zone,” she says. “It’ll be good for me in the long-run!”