There was heartbreak for Natalya Coyle in the modern pentathlon yesterday. Bryan Keane/INPHO

Natalya Coyle to carry Irish flag at Olympics closing ceremony

‘A good end to my Games,’ the three-time Olympian says.

MODERN PENTATHLETE NATALYA will be the Irish flagbearer for tomorrow’s 2020 Olympic Games closing ceremony in Tokyo.

A statement reads: “The three-time Olympian was selected to close out what has been a successful Games for Team Ireland, with four medals already guaranteed going into the last 24 hours of competition.”

There was heartbreak for Meathwoman Coyle as she finished 24th in her competition yesterday. In contention to medal in the latter stages, an unlucky horse draw derailed her hopes.

In an emotional interview with RTÉ Sport afterwards, the 30-year-old said she is proud of her achievements, but admits it’s not the way she would’ve chosen to end the journey.

On her role as flagbearer, Coyle said: “I’m still a bit shocked by it all and overwhelmed by it all. It’s an incredible honour to be able to walk the team out to the Closing Ceremony and to carry the flag.

“It is really going to cap a good end to my Games, which is something that I’m delighted about. I think it’s going to be pretty overwhelming; it’s going to be amazing, and I’m really looking forward to it now. I just can’t put into words, to be nominated and to accept it, it’s a highlight for me.”

“The Japanese [people] have been incredible from the start,” Coyle continued. “When we had our holding camp in Fukuroi, it was amazing, and they were incredible there and they’re even better here.

“To host the Games, I don’t think Japan has got enough credit and enough thanks. We’ve been training for this for years and even though it mightn’t have gone as well for me as I’d hoped, it has gone well for other people and just to be able to host the Games, the Japanese need a big round of applause for that.”

The closing ceremony takes place in the Olympic Stadium on Sunday, 8 August at 12 noon Irish time.

The men’s lightweight double sculls team of Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy (gold), the women’s four of Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty (bronze) and boxers Aidan Walsh (bronze) and Kellie Harrington (at least silver; her final is tomorrow morning) are the Irish medallists from Tokyo 2020.

Harrington and Brendan Irvine were the flagbearers for the opening ceremony last month.

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