Modern Pentathlon: A true five-star experience

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Comprised of five of the most challenging sports, modern pentathlon is considered to be the ultimate test of all-round sporting ability.  

Competitors must navigate their way to the podium by outperforming their opponents in fencing, swimming, horse riding, running and shooting.  

One of the final gold medals of Tokyo 2021 will be awarded to a pentathlete – and there’s every chance that a British one will win it. Pentathlon GB are here to tell us more! 

What can we expect from Team GB at the 2021 Games? 

We are obviously very keen to continue the successful streak that British women have at the Olympics, but we also hope to see our male athletes fighting it out for podium spots at next year’s Games and beyond…. 

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What would you say has been pentathlon’s greatest Olympic moment? 

Sydney 2000. This was the first year that women could compete in the event at the Olympic Games – and the British Women certainly took their opportunity to play their part in this historic moment.  

Dr Steph Cook came away with Gold and Kate Allenby with Bronze for Team GB - it was the start of string of successes for Pentathlon at the pinnacle of the sport. 

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Who are your most successful athletes? 

In terms of successful athletes, it’s hard to ignore the list of  female athletes who have had some incredible success at previous Olympic games; Sydney 2000 – Steph Cook (Gold), Kate Allenby (Bronze), 2004 Athens – Georgina Harland (Bronze), 2008 Beijing – Heather Fell (Silver), 2012 London – Sam Murray (Silver). 

In our current cohort of athletes we have 3 individuals who represented Team GB at Rio 2016 (Kate French (5th), Joe Choong (10th) and Jamie Cooke (14th)) – all three have achieved Olympic qualification standard required for Tokyo and will be hoping to build on their experience gained 4 years ago. 

Selection for next year’s Olympics is still open, and when competition resumes there will be a handful of opportunities for other British athletes to ensure their names are in the mix when it comes to selection time for Tokyo. 

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Who is pentathlon ideal for? 

Someone looking to keep active in a unique, technical and diverse sport. With 5 very different disciplines to train and compete in, there is lots of variety and no opportunity to get bored! 

What do I need to get started? 

What many people don’t know is that there is a whole “family of sports” that sit beneath our banner of Pentathlon – each with a slightly different combination of disciplines; – Laser Run, Biathlon (Swim & Run), Triathlon (Swim & Run-Shoot), Biathle (Continuous Swim-Run), Triathle (Continuous Swim-Run-Shoot) and Tetrathlon (Swim, Fence, Run-Shoot), as well as a full Pentathlon (Swim, Fence, Ride, Run-Shoot). 

Generally, most start out training in the basic running and swimming disciplines with local clubs (and competing in local Laser Run /Biathlon/Triathlon/Biathle/Triathle competitions). 

After that, many look into fencing clubs and riding/show jumping centres to train in the more challenging disciplines. Of course, we also encourage riders and fencers to give swimming / running /shooting a try too! 

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How do I find my local club? 

Pentathlon GB have a club finder on their website where you simply enter your postcode and find a club perfect for you.  

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