Tara's Natalya Coyle was this week officially confirmed as the first Irish female athlete to qualify for the Olympics in modern pentathlon when she will represent her country at the London 2012 Games in August.
The 21-year-old Meath athlete, who only started competing in the sport on an international level in 2009, will compete in modern pentathlon's centenary Olympic competition, but she will have to wait for her moment to shine as the women's modern pentathlon medals will be the last ones awarded at the London Games on Sunday 12th August.
"To qualify for the Olympics really is a dream come true. I've worked so hard to get there and now I'm excited to get a good block of training done in the run up to the competition," she said.
Coyle began her qualification campaign back in August 2011 with an excellent 20th place finish at World Cup Final in London, which also doubled as the Olympic test event.
"The World Cup Final last year seems so long ago but it's great to know that I'll be heading back to the Olympic Park and Greenwich to compete in the real thing," said Coyle.
Her qualification hopes were boosted in May of this year when she finished 10th at a World Cup competition and then 21st in the World Cup Final in China three weeks ago.
Her individual achievement represents a much broader team effort which she is keen to acknowledge. "There are just so many people to thank who have been a part of this journey. All the members of Pentathlon Ireland, the high performance coaches, the Irish Sports Council, the Irish Institute of Sport and their support staff and the Olympic Council of Ireland, the list is just endless."
Coyle will be one of the youngest athletes on the start-line come 12th August but this will not faze the Tara girl.
"I hadn't really thought about being one of the youngest. I'm used to competing against most of the girls who will be in the competition, so it's just another competition, really.
"I guess in terms of the bigger picture, I'm heading to London to gain experience for the next Olympics cycle and hope that I'll be able to make my mark in Rio 2016," she concluded.
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