The head of Modern Pentathlon's world governing body has blamed the athletes on the performance of certain horses in Tokyo.
Natalya Coyle's Olympic medal hopes were undone by an uncooperative horse called Constantin in the showjumping event on Friday.
The County Meath athlete sat in fourth position after impressive performances in the morning's swimming and fencing rounds.
However, the time faults accrued by Constantin's unwillingness to tackle certain fences saw Coyle drop to 19th in the rankings.
By the time the Laser Run had been completed, Coyle had finished the competition in 24th position.
In the showjumping round, athletes are assigned unfamiliar horses allocated to them by a random draw.
Coyle wasn't the only athlete whose medal chances were scuppered by the performance of their horse.
Germany's Annika Schleu had been leading the Pentathlon heading into the showjumping, but her mount - the ironically named Saint Boy - refused to jump. She finished 31st overall.
But UIPM president Dr. Klaus Schormann laid the blame of their performance not on the horses, but the individual athletes.
"This is a historic moment in the Olympic Games with all five disciplines of the Modern Pentathlon taking place in one venue, and it will be this way in the future," he said.
“My thanks go to the organising committee of Tokyo 2020 who have delivered on the promises they made during the bidding process for the Olympic Games.
Think this sums up my feelings from today.
Thank you for all the messages. They’ve really been amazing. https://t.co/n4cFUTL9wE
— Natalya Coyle (@Natalyacoyle) August 6, 2021
“Now we are looking forward to the Men’s Final tomorrow and I must say to those who do not know our sport so well, the presentation of the facility and the horses were of a high quality.
"Maybe there were a few moments that you would say were not so nice but I tell you – the horses are absolutely excellent.
“We tested them and they were well prepared, and there is no basis for athletes to complain.
"It is only because of the athletes themselves if they were not successful in some parts of the competition.
"Nobody from the organising committee should be blamed. Everything was genius, was super, and I’m very happy with Secretary General Shiny Fang in what we have achieved together with the organising committee."
Dr. Schormann's words will only rub salt into the wounds of Coyle and Schleu.
Speaking afterwards, three-time Olympian Coyle could not hide her emotions.
"It’s really disappointing,” she said, “It’s just the added disappointment because to be third in the fence, and to be so close and to kind of feel like it was snatched away from you is really disappointing, but that’s pentathlon, unfortunately.”
Coyle added, "I knew that was going to be tough, but I thought I had made a good plan and I worked a lot in the arena, but he [Constantin] just didn’t want to go near it.
"It’s just disappointing – I have had two good Games, and two good horse riding,
"I’ve put so much effort into doing it and would have liked to have had a really nice finish, but that’s not sport I suppose. It’s a bit tough.”
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