OFI Paris Scholarship Recipient and Modern Pentathlete Sive Brassil

MODERN Pentathlon’s Sive Brassil sent out the most emphatic marker yet of her progress when she bagged her highest finish (eighth) at the European Championships in Hungary in mid-September.
Her previous best placing at Euros was 16th so what helped the 28-year-old from Ballinasloe make such a significant leap?

“Not making Tokyo last year was a big knock to my confidence. I think I was so focussed on Olympic qualification that all of the process went out of the window. 2022 was about finding the enjoyment again. I think what’s changed is that I’m more relaxed and less stressed out, I’m allowing myself to enjoy it again.


“Maturity is another big thing. I now know that my level allows me to have some weaker events on the qualifying day because I have such a good run/shoot (final event) to make up for it.

16 April 2020; Modern pentathlete Sive Brassil during a training session at her home in Ballinasloe, Galway. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

“I also made a few changes that I think helped, thanks to some lifestyle management work I did with Eoin Rheinisch at the Institute of Sport.

“I got a job in Decathlon, which was the first time since college that I balanced work with training. It might sound counter-productive but it was actually very good for me.

“I worked full-time for them, on the shop floor, in the Watersports Department, during the summer and then part-time up until Christmas 2021.

“I would never have thought that I could fit something else extra in with my training. In my head I think I thought you’d just be doing less of something (training) in order to fit in something extra but, actually, I wasn’t doing anything less, maybe just training more efficiently.

“I really enjoyed working and feeling like a normal person. When you’re a full-time athlete you can get very caught up in results and almost feel like they reflect on you as a person. When you have other things to think about maybe you feel like a more whole, rounded person.

“I’ve been training full-time again since January 2022 but am still doing an ambassadorial role with Decathlon, as well as the Olympic Federation’s ‘Dare To Believe’ programme which involves school visits which I really enjoy.”

With Natalya Coyle and Arthur Lanigan O’Keeffe now retired she also has a new leadership role within her sport.

Sive Brassil with Natalya Coyle after the Women’s Modern Pentathlon Finals in Rio 2016

“Suddenly I’m the senior on the team! Isobel (Radford-Dodd from Wicklow) and Hanna (D’Aughton from Cork) are such promising juniors. They have already made their senior debuts and are also great fun so it’s a nice change of dynamic.” 

Sive Brassil is one of the Olympic Federation of Ireland’s Paris Scholarship recipients, and has her sights firmly set on Paris 2024.

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