Three new representatives were elected to the Modern Pentathlon Australia (MPA) Executive at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Melbourne on Friday night, after the first day of competition at the 2022 National Championships.
As per the Constitution, and is tradition for most Olympic sports, the positions for the elected voluntary positions on the Executive are voted on at the AGM following each summer Olympic Games. For the first time in many years there were more nominees than positions, which along with the record number of athlete entries at the Nationals, are positive signs for the sport which is undergoing further evolution.
Olympian and internationally recognised administrator Kitty Chiller AM renominated as President and there was no challenger for this position. Chiller restated her well known desire to have strong succession planning for all Executive positions and this will be a focus for this cycle.
It is a key time for the sport both domestically and internationally with a new competition format commencing in the lead-up to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. A new fifth discipline to replace Riding will also be voted on at the end of the year by all National Federations, in a bid to secure the sport’s Olympic future for Los Angeles 2028, Brisbane 2032 and beyond.
Chiller spoke of the achievements since the last AGM, which involved supporting athletes for the delayed Tokyo 2020 Games, COVID disruptions to local competitions, the endorsement of an updated MPA Constitution, development of a new 2022-24 Strategic Plan and an increasingly strong partnership with and funding from the Australian Institute of Sport for pathways and high-performance.
Chiller, who is also the Oceania MP President, on the International Federation Executive Board for both the UIPM and the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) and also on the Australian Olympic Committee Executive, outlined a big agenda for the sport for the coming year. The MPA Executive will establish an Athletes’ Commission comprising of past, current and younger athletes who have their sights set on Brisbane 2032.
The national Executive will also host a state member forum annually and recently unanimously voted to adopt the National Integrity Framework, to come into effect 1 June.
There were two nominees for the Vice President position – long-standing incumbent John Fernon, whose strong legal and governance expertise has driven the recent adoption of a new Constitution, and triple Olympian experienced events manager and former MPA President Alex Watson.
Watson won the vote and returns to the MPA Executive for the first time in almost 20 years, having been the President after the Sydney 2000 Games, where he was the sport’s Competition Manager. The Games where women made their Olympic debut in the sport, was where Chiller became Australia’s first female Olympian in the sport. Watson paid tribute to the significant contribution made by Fernon and hoped he would stay involved with the sport and the Board, as does Chiller who has seen how invaluable Fernon’s legal background and dedication to the sport has been over the years.
Victoria Craig was the sole nominee for Treasurer with incumbent Hannah Crowther not nominating for election. Crowther joined the Executive in early 2020 and she leaves the finances in great shape. Crowther has now switched her attention to the track and has made a comeback as an athlete, competing extremely well at these Nationals.
Craig has over 20 years-experience in financial services and has performed the role of treasurer for other organisations. She has extensive experience with Modern Pentathlon and fencing as an athlete, coach and administrator.
For the Secretary role, Maki Takken and Ashlee Uren, both former athletes nominated. Uren from the ACT was successful in the vote, but Chiller and the Executive hope that Takken, and other former athletes now showing renewed interest in the sport, will be available to help the spot in other ways in the future as it enters a period of evolution and development.
There will be further renewal on the Executive soon, with a replacement needed for the media and communications position. Highly experienced Olympic media expert Andrew Reid was appointed to this position in late 2018 and has overseen the development of a new website and implemented a professional approach to MPA social media platforms and coverage. The Executive will be looking for a replacement in the coming weeks.
Holding the AGM in person and bringing the sport’s community back together for the first Australian Championships since just before the pandemic in March 2020, has given everyone a boost for the big few years ahead. Chiller thanked everyone for their ongoing contributions and dedication to the sport and outgoing Treasurer Hannah Crowther thanked Kitty for her incredible 40 year commitment to Modern Pentathlon, having started as an athlete in 1982.
The Australian Championships continue at Caulfield Grammar School today with the National Champions in youth, junior and senior categories to be determined this afternoon after a busy day with the Fencing Bonus Round, Swim and the exciting Laser Run event.