It is an exciting time for Modern Pentathlon in Australia with competition at the 2022 Modern Pentathlon Australian Championships starting in Melbourne on Friday, April 22.
After two long years of postponements and cancellations it is fantastic for the sport to have 35 entries across the junior and senior events, including two athletes from Singapore. Athlete ages range from 10 to 35 years.
At the last National Championships in Brisbane, just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were 22 entries and at the 2019 edition there were 34 entries – which was previously the largest number of entries recorded for the sport in Australia.
Can Watt and Lanskey win again?
Experienced international junior competitor Tully Watt (VIC) won her first senior national title in 2019 when she was just 18. The 20-year-old, who was second in 2020, will be up against extremely tough competition this year. Outstanding junior Genevieve Janse van Rensburg (NSW) is chasing her first senior title and Singapore’s Shermain Tung (27) also cannot be discounted. In the final event on Saturday, look for 16-year-old Zara Temesi (NSW), who is contesting the under-19 competition, and will look to put her mark on the Laser Run against the senior competitors as she continues to go from strength to strength..
Like Watt, Rhys Lanskey (QLD) was only 20 when he had his breakthrough performance at the 2019 Nationals. Lanskey is aiming for his third consecutive senior title following his win in 2019 and title defence in 2020. The young Queenslander who battled hard for the Tokyo Olympic Oceania spot with the now retired Ed Fernon, is hoping to have a strong competition coming back from injury from 27-year-old Kiat Xuan Kok from Singapore.
Early Friday morning, the competition will begin for the older competitors with Riding at Willow Lane Equestrian Centre, Bangholme. The Fencing Ranking Round for these competitors will then be held in the afternoon at Caulfield Grammar School, where the remainder of the competition and 2022 National Champions will be decided at the wonderful facilities on Saturday.
On the Sunday, there will be relay events with athletes encouraged to enter for a fun, exciting opportunity for athletes to gain more experience and learn from others.
There will be many highlights across the age groups with the depth in young talent being a credit to the numerous volunteer coaches and parents, putting so much time into the training hubs across Australia. The swimming distances, running distances and distance to the laser target all vary depending on the athletes age, to appeal to the development of young athletes.
New exciting competition format for Nationals
A faster competition format for the sport has been introduced globally, ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The local organising committee has been working hard to replicate the new rules and timing changes for the competitors on the Saturday.
The Seniors, Juniors and Under-19 athletes will complete the Fencing Bonus Round, Swimming (200m) and Laser Run in under two exciting hours. Each win in the Fencing Bonus Round is now worth 2 points (up from 1). The Laser Run has changed from 4x800m with 4×5 green shooting series to 5x600m and 4×5 shots. The under-19, Juniors and Seniors now run 600 metres before entering the shooting range for the first time.
MPA Executive Elections
On the Friday evening at the Annual General Meeting the make-up of the new Executive will be determined. As per the Constitution, the positions for the elected members on the Executive are voted on at the AGM following each summer Olympic Games.
Olympian and highly respected administrator and leader Kitty Chiller has renominated as President and there is no challenger for this position.
State representatives will vote on the position of Vice President. John Fernon, whose strong legal and governance expertise has driven the recent adoption of a new constitution for the sport has renominated, along with former MPA President and Olympian Alex Watson.
For the Secretary role, Maki Takken and Ashlee Uren, both former athletes have both nominated. Whoever is selected will be joining the Executive for the first time.
Current Treasurer Hannah Crowther is not recontesting, and Victoria Craig is the sole nominee for this role.
There will be ongoing coverage of the Nationals on the MPA social channels and website.