Having been analysing the results of this weekend's Modern Pentathlon World Championships I am increasingly confident that Ireland's Natalya Coyle is going to make it to the Olympics.
Although those championships did not go according to plan for Natalya (she missed the final by 1 place), other results have worked out very positively for the young Meath woman. The reason I suggest that it has played out positively for her is that all 3 available Olympic slots on offer at the World Championships went to pentathletes ranked abover her in the Olympic rankings list. How does this benefit her? Well there are 7 quota places available from the Olympic rankings list for the highest ranked non-qualifiers from world and continental championships, and as a result of the 3 places from the 2012 worlds going to those ranked above her, it effectively bumps Natalya up 3 places in the race for the final 7 quota positions.
The rankings have not yet been updated after this weekends World Championships but Natalya will lose little ground on her rivals. Not very many of her close rivals below her in the rankings made any ground (Crognale of Italy and Wojcik of Poland excepted). Here were the rankings of those unqualified athletes before the world championships minus those 3 who earned quota places this weekend.
- Sylvia Gawlikowska (Poland)
- Iryna Khokhlova (Ukraine)
- Natalie Dianova (Czech Republic)
- Donna Vakalis (Canada)
- Natalya Coyle (IRELAND)
- Katarzyna Wojcik (Poland)
- Sabrina Crognale (Italy)
- Claudia Cesarini (Italy)
- Suzanne Stettinius (U.S.A.)
- Lavinia Bonessio (Italy)
Natalya jumps up from 8th place to 5th (inside the top 7 qualifying spots). But remember the ranking points have not updated so she will lose ground to those who made the World Championships final. Some of those who made the final are already ranked above her and others are a little too far back in the rankings to upset her position too much. The other very encouraging thing is that there is only one remaining event that counts towards the world rankings. This is the World Cup Series Grand Final and there will only be 36 pentathletes at this event and Natalya is one of them.
In addition, as the British team qualified 2 athletes the automatic host nation quota place will be re-distributed to the 8th best non-qualifier in the Olympic rankings, further bolstering Natalya's chances.
A lot of those who on the face of things are challenging her Olympic position will not be able to add to their total further, whereas Natalya should be able to add at least some points to her total (obviously the higher up she finishes in that competition, the better for her ranking points).
It's hard to ascertain at the minute but when the World Rankings update this week there is even the possibility that Natalya will be in an unassailable position in the list and if not, she will have a great chance to overcome any deficit facing her in that final event.
Arthur wasn't just as lucky as a lot of guys ranked not too far behind him made the World Championship final and could overtake him in the rankings when they update. But as was the case with Natalya, he was helped in that all 3 quota places on offer went to pentathletes ranked above him, thus bumping him up the pecking order in the non-qualified list. Here is the Olympic rankings list before it has been updated but with those 3 qualifiers from this weekend now removed from the list of non-qualifiers. Top 8 are in qualifying positions as things stand:
- Pavlo Tymoschenko (Ukraine)
- Stanislau Zhurauliou (Belarus)
- Justinas Kinteris (Lithuania)
- Deniss Cerkovskis (Latvia)
- Jean Maxence Berrou (France)
- Ondrej Polivka (Czech Republic)
- Alvaro Sandoval (Mexico)
- Amro El Geziry (Egypt)
- Golis Remigiusz (Poland)
- Sam Sacksen (U.S.A.)
- Nikkos Papadopolo (Guatemala)
- Arthur Lanigan O'Keeffe (IRELAND)
As you can see Arthur has more work to do but what is encouraging is that he too has made the World Cup Series Grand Final which is the final qualifying event, and a lot of those directly above him have not qualified for that event, meaning that their rankings tally can not increase further. Arthur will still need a high placing in that event in order to overcome the deficit.