The 2019 Australian Modern Pentathlon Nationals in Brisbane on Sunday have delivered sensational performances, confirming a bright future for the sport in Australia.
With 34 competitors across the events it was the largest Australian Championships in over a decade, and excitingly the women’s and men’s titles were won by outstanding 17-year-olds, Tully Watt (VIC) and Rhys Lanskey (QLD). And there were plenty of personal best performances from the juniors.
Lanskey only began training for Modern Pentathlon 12 months ago. He is now under the guidance of the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) and has been training full-time since finishing high school in mid-November.
“I’m a bit speechless,” Lanskey said, after his breakthrough performance while surrounded by family, friends and coaches.
“I broke my PB in swimming, and a clear round finally on the horse riding and this Laser Run was something I had been aiming for, but the Shooting could have caused me some problems.
“The last shoot was fantastic, and I just took off and finished with a 2:09 for the last 800m. The adrenaline running through my body was just amazing.”
Lanskey had a big lead going into the final event and was chasing not only the senior national title but a time of 12:45, to achieve the senior international selection standard for the Laser Run – a key criteria for being able to contest the Asia/Oceania Olympic qualifier later in the year.
He was controlled early and then built into each of the 800ms. When he crossed the line in 12:40 he dropped to the track at Sheldon College with pure emotion and exhaustion.
“I was a bit emotional when I finished, I’ve worked so hard for this and Modern Pentathlon is all I have lived to do since finishing school.”
The Brisbane local started the day with a Swimming personal best of 2:06.59 (200m freestyle), he then had 24 fencing bout victories and only 10 defeats, before achieving a clear Show Jumping round. With this phase of the competition held at the Chebron Waters Equestrian Centre where he actually lives, he was right at home.
The tall athlete doesn’t turn 18 until August and he has achieved so much with just a short amount of dedicated training. Sunday’s performance confirms there are exciting international results to come.
Experienced Chinese-born competitor Liu Yang (NSW) was second and Kok Kiat Xuan from Singapore was third. The Show Jumping was the weakness for both men. Rio Olympian Max Esposito is returning from injury and did not compete.
Watt from western Victoria, and now based in Melbourne was in top form all day. Only Olympic Champion Chloe Esposito, who didn’t compete in the national titles, this year, has won the senior national title at a younger age.
“I’m very excited with today as I got the personal bests I wanted,” Watt said, after her brilliant Laser Run.
Early in the morning, Watt swam a long-course best of 2:26.85 at the Sleeman Sports Complex. She was targeting a 2:27, so was ‘very happy with that’. She was in the lead and never relinquished it.
On the Fencing piste she had 24 victories and only 10 defeats and jumped a clear round in Show Jumping. The Victorian did incur a 30 point penalty for not jumping at the maximum height but still held a four second lead going into the Laser Run.
“My fencing went really well and there was probably only two bouts where I mucked up but I got a lot of competitors I didn’t expect to, so that was really exciting too.
“The ride I was a bit worried about because I was jumping lower (1.00m) I thought I would drop behind but that went really smoothly, and I’m really happy with my combined time.”
Watt finished the day with a huge Laser Run personal best of 13 minutes 30 seconds. She will now focus on the World Under 19 Championships later in the year.
Youth Olympic Games representative Nikita Mawhirt from Perth was second behind Watt. The 18-year-old came into the Championships not at peak fitness following a limited training load, after the Youth Olympics in October. Both competitors are normally very close, with Watt generally coming out on top but Mawhirt secured the coveted YOG spot.
Mawhirt was pleased with her swim time of 2:37.04, she had a strong day on the Fencing piste, had only one rail down in the Show Jumping and pushed herself hard in the Laser Run. Fellow Western Australian Victoria Squire claimed the bronze medal.
Check out the fantastic images in the album on the MPA Facebook page. – Thanks to William Taylor for these great images from the Nationals.
It was a clean-sweep for the medals in the Junior Female event from Western Australian competitors. Katherine Nicholls won the Modern Pentathlon title over Brooke Bishop, and Katherine’s twin Siobhan won the bronze. There were a record nine West Australian competitors at the Nationals. Aleksa Van Heekren from Coffs Harbour in NSW did not contest the Show Jumping and won the Junior Tetrathlon gold.
Australian youth representative Darcy Wade (VIC) had no competition in his age group but benefited from the competition and the tough fencing bouts. He also rode well. There were a lot of Pony Club competitors on Sunday. There Pony Club background gives them the ideal grounding and skills to transition to the Olympic sport of Modern Pentathlon.
There were plenty of impressive performances from the youth athletes across the day. One in particular was that of Geneveive Janse Van Rensburg from NSW. The 15-year-old swam a 2:28.37, which was the second fastest female swim of the day. She ended up taking out the under 17 Tetrathlon with training partner Eliya Quinn (NSW) the silver and Kirsten Collings from New Zealand the bronze. Her brother Joel Collings (NZL) went one better and took out the boys U17 Tetrathlon with Cohen Wade (VIC) the silver.
It was fantastic to have four New Zealand representatives compete at the event, where the sport is growing and Xuan from Singapore.
2019 Australian Modern Pentathlon Medallists
Modern Pentathlon Results
Open – Men: 1 Rhys Lanskey (QLD), 2 Liu Yang (NSW), 3 Kok Kiat Xuan (SGP)
Open – Women: 1 Tully Watt (VIC), 2 Nikita Mawhirt (WA), 3 Victoria Squire (WA)
Junior – Male: 1 Darcy Wade (VIC)
Junior – Female: 1 Katherine Nicholls (WA), 2 Brooke Bishop (WA), 3 Siobhan Nicholls (WA)
Masters – Men: 1 Frederic Cappon (WA)
Masters – Women: 1 Ashlee Uren (ACT), 2 Naomi Edwards (WA)
Open – Men: 1 Andi Shen Liu (NZL)
Open – Women: 1 Rebecca Jaimison (NZL)
Junior – Female: 1 Aleska Van Heekren (NSW)
Masters – Men: 1 Ed Egan (NSW)
Masters – Women: 1 Cecile Wake (VIC), 2 Victoria Wilks (NSW)
U/17 – Male: 1 Joel Collings (NZL), 2 Cohen Wade (VIC)
U/17 – Female: 1 Genevieve Janse Van Rensburg (NSW), 2 Eliya Quinn (NSW), 3 Kirsten Collings (NZL)
U/15 – Male: 1 Tom Langdon (QLD), 2 Finn Cappon (WA)
U/15 – Female: 1 Zara Temesi (NSW), 2 Anastasia Topolov (QLD), 3 Sophie Horton (WA)
U/11 – Male: 1 Leo Egan (NSW)
U/9 – Female: 1 Hazel Egan (NSW)
Special thank to Modern Pentathlon Queensland for hosting a wonderful Championships. And to the Brisbane world-class venues – Sleeman Sports Complex, Cherbon Waters Equestrian Centre and Sheldon College.
Andrew Reid for MPA