Trinity Sports Scholarship Students Achieve Olympic Dreams

Posted on: 23 August 2012

Trinity College Dublin students, Natalya Coyle and Mark Kenneally, achieved their ultimate sporting dream when they competed for Team Ireland at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

“Trinity Olympians Natalya and Mark are truly inspirational role models, demonstrating that through hard work, passion and dedication you can fulfill your sporting dreams while pursuing your academic studies.”  said Head of Sport and Recreation at TCD, Michelle Tanner, “Trinity recognises the remarkable ability of our Sports Scholarship students in maintaining high academic achievements alongside their sporting commitments and this is supported by the College in terms of facilities and programmes.”

Business Economic and Social Studies student, Natalya Coyle, finished in an impressive ninth place in the Women’s Modern Pentathlon ending the Olympic Games on an excellent note for the Irish team on the last day of the games. Natalya finished just 47 seconds behind the gold medal winner from Lithuania. A first-time Olympian, Natalya finished 11th in the fencing with 19 wins and was then 15th in the swim section.

Natalya Coyle competing in the swim section of the Modern Penthalon at the London 2012 Olympic Games

In the show jumping event Natalya demonstrated real horsemanship over the 12 fences which had to be completed within 75 seconds, finishing fifth out of all the competitors with just two faults. Coyle was in overall 11th position going into the combined shooting and running section and finished overall in the top ten, a sensational achievement for the amateur competitor having just taken up the sport a few years ago.

“It was like a dream,” stated Natalya. “I was 11th in the fencing, best I’ve ever fenced, I achieved personal best in the swim, a really good ride and I’m sure it was a personal best in the combined section of the competition. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. The crowd was unbelievable and all my friends and family came to support me.” 

On the same morning, Trinity PhD student, Mark Kenneally, Ireland’s sole representative in the Marathon, competed with over 100 other runners, representing over 70 nations. The field of elite athletes faced high sun with temperatures in the 20s and humidity of 80%, with the result of only 85 finishing the course out of 105 starters.

Mark paced himself well over the first half of the race, but fell victim to the weather conditions like many of the other competitors and struggled over the closing miles,. Mark finished in 57th place in a time of 2:21:13, almost seven minutes outside his person best time of 2:13:55 which he achieved in the Amsterdam marathon last October where he achieved his Olympic marathon qualification.

The Clonliffe Harriers runner was disappointed with his time. “I felt good for the first 16 or 17 miles,” stated Kenneally. “The last seven or eight miles were a struggle to get home.  It’s great to have the Olympic experience and everything but I want to perform on this stage. Hopefully, in four years time I can still be around and make this right.” 

Mark Kenneally competing in the London 2012 Olympic Games Marathon