Neville Sayers

Neville Sayers was a pioneer of modern pentathlon in Victoria, and indeed Australia.  He won the first Australian modern pentathlon championship in 1956 in the lead-up to an Australian team debuting in the sport at Melbourne 1956. Forbes Carlile had been Australia’s first Olympic modern pentathlete, at Helsinki 1952.

Sayers finished a creditable 19th (out of 40 participants) in his Olympic debut. He combined with Sven Coomer and Greg Nicholl for Australia to finish 8th in the team competition. The talented athlete tried unsuccessfully to make the shooting team at Melbourne 1956.

At Rome 1960 he also competed in the rapid fire pistol and joined that exclusive band of Australians to compete in more than one sport at the Olympic Games. He was the first of three modern pentathletes to do this followed by Duncan Page and Peter Macken.

After Sayers completed his Olympic career as a competitor, he was the Modern Pentathlon section manager at Tokyo 1964 and Mexico City 1968. At various times he was a member of Olympic juries of appeal, an international judge and a vice president of the International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM).

(With thanks to AOC Historians)