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'Our no. 1 priority is health and safety' - Team Ireland and Olympian Coyle withdraw from World Cup

Pentathlon Ireland confirmed the news from Sofia this afternoon.

Natalya Coyle.
Natalya Coyle.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

TEAM IRELAND HAS withdrawn from the UIPM 2021 Pentathlon World Cup Sofia II due to Covid-19 concerns. 

Pentathlon Ireland confirmed the news this afternoon ahead of Natalya Coyle’s final, the team choosing to end their participation yesterday.

Modern pentathletes Coyle, Sive Brassil, and coaches, Martina McCarthy and Andrey Fedotov, will travel back to Ireland as soon as possible.

Meath Olympian Coyle, who finished ninth at London 2012, sixth at Rio 2016 and has booked her ticket to the Tokyo Games this summer, wrote on Twitter:

“Unfortunately I won’t be competing in the final. Over the past 48 hours a number of positive tests were returned from coaches/athletes. I am not vaccinated and my main aim of this year is the Olympic Games which I’ve already qualified for. So we decided to withdraw.

“I won’t lie, I’m really upset not to be competing. I am feeling really confident in my fitness and was very excited to hit the start line. But I think I’ve made the correct decision.

“Thanks to my coaches for keeping us safe this trip and hopefully we will be back out on the start line again soon.”

“The decision to withdraw the Irish team from UIPM 2021 Pentathlon World Cup Sofia II was taken in response to positive cases of Covid-19 emerging within the competition environment in the days leading up to today’s Women’s Final, causing concern to all team members,” Paddy Boyd, Pentathlon Ireland Chief Executive, added.

“Our No. 1 priority is the health and safety of our teams and Performance Director Martina McCarthy has kept us closely informed of developments throughout the competitions in recent weeks in Hungary and Bulgaria. We all regret the circumstances but we are all 100% behind the decision to withdraw the team at this late stage.

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“The next competition on the calendar is the UIPM World Cup Final in Hungary in May, where we hope to have three athletes competing in a safe and secure environment. Pentathlon Ireland will continue to do all it can to support our athletes’ attempts to qualify and/or prepare for the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.”

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