Tokyo 2020 Day 14: Top 10 finish for Brendan Boyce in 50km walk; Natalya Coyle finishes in 24th

Stephanie Meadow stays in touch in the golf as Leona Maguire fades in third round

  • Athletics: Brendan Boyce secures a top 10 finish in the 50km walk. Fionnuala McCormack and Aoife Cooke are in action in the women's marathon tonight at 11pm.
  • Golf: Stephanie Meadow is in a tie for 10th after the third round of the women's individual strokeplay. Leona Maguire is tied 18th.
  • Modern pentathlon: Natalya Coyle finishes in 24th place after a frustrating show jumping round.
  • Track cycling: Shannon McCurley and Emily Kay DNF in the women's madison final.
  • Equestrian: Bertram Allen, Shane Sweetnam and Darragh Kenny withdraw from the team showjumping equestrian qualifier.

Modern pentathlon

Natalya Coyle finished in 24th place overall in the modern pentathlon after a frustrating show jumping round cost her dearly. After a number of refusals she picked up 66 faults, dropping 15 places from fourth.

Earlier on Friday, she swam a fast time of 2:13.88 in the 200m freestyle swim before picking up a bonus point in the individual fencing bonus round. She was just two seconds off bronze coming into the equestrian round.

The medals are decided at the final event - the individual laser run - and Coyle dropped another five places as Britain's Kate French won gold.


So much for the cooler climes of Sapporo, where in cruel and gruelling conditions on Friday morning, Brendan Boyce finished in 10th position in the last ever edition of the Olympic 50km walk.


The 34 year-old from Donegal, competing in his third Olympics, put his experience to good use with a finely judged effort as countless others wilted in the early morning heat. It was 25.7 degrees at the start at 5.30 am, with relative humidity at 79 per cent, reaching 35 degrees by the finish at 9am - about two degrees hotter than Tokyo 800km to the south.

Dawid Tomala of Poland held on to capture the Olympic title in just his third race over the distance. Tomala was up by over three minutes at 44km, that reduced to just 36 seconds in the end. He clocked 3:50:08 ahead of Germany's Jonathan Hilbert. Canada's Evan Dunfee passed Spaniard Marc Tur in the waning metres to take the bronze in 3:50:59, having just missed out on a medal in Rio.

“The race tactics were good,” said Boyce. “It was kind of the way I planned - to go out steady and push through the race. It just so happened that everyone else had the same plan, so I was able to stick in the mix until about 38km and then just had to hold on then, and pick off any positions I could get a hold of.

“I feel like I gave everything, I worked for the top 10 definitely so I’m happy - happy to get that kind of a result in these conditions and back up what I did two years ago in Doha.”

He was sixth on that occasion, his 10th place here the third top-10 in the athletics events for Irish athletes, after Thomas Barr took ninth in the 400m hurdles, and the 4x400m mixed relay finished eighth. Alex Wright finished 29th, picking up six places in the final 5km.

Boyce has already admitted his displeasure at the World Athletics decision to replace the men’s 50km from next year with a mixed 35km walk, a move that will bring near complete gender balance across all events.

However Boyce may not be retiring just yet: “I guess this is the end of the road for 50km so it’s a new life for me after this, we’ll see how it goes next year.”

It was his best ever Olympic finish too, as he picked up two places in the final 5km to finish 3:32 adrift of Tomala. Of the 59 walkers who started, only 47 finished. Jesus Angel Garcia from Spain, who is 51 and was competing in his eighth Olympic Games, finished 35th.


Stephanie Meadow birdied her final two holes to finish her third round of the women's individual strokeplay golf on three under par and seven under overall, leaving her in a tie for 10th. She's three shots behind the bronze medal places at the Kasumigaseki Country Club in Saitama.

Leona Maguire, who hit a costly triple bogey on the ninth hole, finished one under for her round and five under par overall to leave her in a tie for 18th.

Meadow is eight shots off leader Nelly Korda of Team USA. With a storm forecast for Saturday, organisers will decide later on Friday whether or not to finish the tournament with the final round.

Speaking afterwards, Meadow said that patience was key for her today: “Yeah definitely. The entire front - well, most of the round - I felt like if I just kept hitting it in there at some point, they’d have to drop. I guess one thing is, I had a few misreads and a couple of bad putts, it wasn’t like I was hitting them perfect, so I couldn’t get too mad at myself. It was part of it, but it was nice to finish strong.

“I hit it really well today it could have been a low one, but I’m just happy I gave myself a lot of opportunities and hopefully I can tie that together tomorrow with making some putts. I’m in with a chance, so that’s all I can ask for.”

Maguire is also remaining confident of finishing strongly on Saturday:

“I’m frustrated. I got off to a much better start and I felt like I made up a lot of ground early and then just threw it away on the ninth hole, pretty much. I didn’t feel like I hit all that bad of a shot, like I thought I hit the second shot real nice and it just clipped that tree. Things could have gone a lot differently if that ball had have just gone a little bit higher, a little bit lower but, that’s golf.”

Maguire shot a course record equalling final round 61 at the Evian Championship just two weeks ago, and feels something similar will be needed tomorrow if she is in with a shot.

“I think I’ve been playing the front nine pretty well, I haven’t quite figured out the back nine yet. Like I said, I need to hit more fairways, give myself chances, hole a few putts and try and do what I did last week at Evian I guess.”

Track cycling

There was disappointment for the Irish team of Shannon McCurley and Emily Kay as they did not finish the women's madison final.

McCurley was involved in a crash with the Italian team early on and despite their best efforts to recover they pulled out with 30 laps remaining.

Tokyo 2020 was the first time the women’s madison has featured at an Olympic Games and Laura Kenny and Katie Archibald blew away the competition to take gold for Britain.


The Irish team of Bertram Allen, Shane Sweetnam and Darragh Kenny have withdrawn from the the team showjumping equestrian qualifier after Sweetnam and Alejandro were eliminated. Alejandro lost a shoe at the start of the round and despite Sweetnam’s best efforts never looked settled thereafter. Both were fine after a fall on course that led to their elimination.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics