The British Army's Modern Pentathlon Association is based at its Centre of Excellence at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. The Army regards this particular Olympic sport as especially important based on its demanding mental and physical tests of leadership, skill, courage and endurance. Interest in the sport is currently high and members of the Army team (Capt Hannah Adams, LCpl Cory Hood, Lt Rob Willis, OCdts Zoe Rutterford and Laura Plant) have won Army BAe Sports Scholarships in Modern Pentathlon since 2010.
The 2014 season builds on a remarkably successful recent period including which also saw the Army building on its involvement with the London Olympics during its centenary year. The future of the sport in the British Army is strong: International competition standard laser technology and fencing pistes were introduced in 2012; and renewed sponsorship and linkages with international and national governing bodies (UIPM based in Monaco and MPAGB based in Bath) are reinforcing an exciting period of growth towards the Rio Olympics in 2016. Following the success of its international competition in 2013 (which Olympic Bronze Medallist Yane Marques won), the British Army will again be hosting the Conseil International du Sport Militaire International Event at Sandhurst in 2014. The British Army remains a fertile arena for nurturing suitable talent towards national, international and future Olympic stardom.
The Association's President is General Sir Peter Wall, Chief of the General Staff. He is a former World Junior Champion (1974), Army and Cambridge University team captain, combined champion and still the current Varsity record holder in the fencing element. CGS introduced the current management team in 2010 in anticipation of a resurgence of interest in the sport, the Army's specific contribution to the London 2012 Olympics and now as we proceed towards the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Colonel Seb Pollington Late RTR is Chairman Army Modern Pentathlon and Major Bex Harrison AGC (ETS) (former Combined Services Fencing Champion) is the new Secretary. Retiring Army pentathlete, Captain Frank Quinn REME, will continue to contribute as Technical Official at future competitions and Royal Marine Lee Ormerod (GB International Modern Pentathlete) is seconded as resident Sandhurst coach. The sports' home is at the Royal Military Academy and strong funding support is found from the Army Sports Control Board (ASCB) and by Team Army with key sponsors SAAB.
Dates to be notified
Brazil Overseas Training and Competition (Rio de Janiero)
French-UK Army International (Fontainebleu, Paris)
European Training Camp with IQ Laser Range Facilities (Berlin)
Warm Weather Training Camp (Cyprus)
All ranks can compete for the Army's Modern Pentathlon team. Candidates for selection should contact the Chairman, Secretary or Coach at any stage (see contacts below). Competitions run throughout the year and the 2014 fixture list also includes several overseas training camps, including jointly with the Army Fencing Union.
Sandhurst Officer Cadets are particularly encouraged to make themselves known to Academy sport representative Maj Raymund Kolczak (Mob 07971 026952) alternatively call Marine Lee Ormerod (Athlete / Coach) directly on 07809 771659.
Modern Pentathlon was first introduced at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics as a test of military skills traditionally taught at Army officer academies of the time. At the London Olympics 2012, where Modern Pentathlon was one of the first sports to sell-out its original ticket allocation, Team GB performed excellently with Lancastrian athlete Samantha Murray winning Silver. Alongside its own annual programme of events in 2012, the Army also hosted a pre-Olympics International Centenary Event in April (won by the Czech Team) and the GB National Championships in November (the Women’s Title won by Beijing Olympic Silver Medallist - Heather Fell).
Alongside former Olympic Bronze Medallist Captain Dominic Mahony, Chef d’Equipe Team GB in 2012, the Army was strongly represented in a variety of official and supporting roles. London 2012 was the first Olympic Games at which the running and shooting elements were combined. Laser pistols replaced pellets for the first time and the British Army introduced laser technology in 2012 in line with the Olympics. Under its legacy arrangements, Pentathlon GB (the sport’s national governing body) bequeathed the London 2012 laser range to Sandhurst in 2013.
Modern Pentathlon comprises five athletic disciplines: fencing, swimming, riding and combined running and shooting (Tetrathlon, based on 4 events, does not involve riding). . The sport was designed by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the chief founder of the modern Olympic Games. The concept behind the competition is that a military courier sets out on horseback to carry a message. Along the way, he has to fight a duel with epees, use a pistol, swim across a river, and then run through the woods to reach his goal. George S Patton, who later became General of the US Army, competed in the first Olympic Modern Pentathlon at the 1912 Games.
The events have changed considerably since 1912. The equestrian event, originally a 5000m cross-country ride against time, is now a 400m show jump course. The swimming event has been cut from 300m to 200m. The cross-country running event was cut from 4000m to 3000m and now (from 2013) to 2400m. The shooting event, originally a 22-caliber pistol shoot from 25m at turning targets, is a 10m air pistol shoot at a stationary target and it is soon to be based on laser technology. As in 1912, the fence has remained a round robin competition, with a single touch deciding each match.
Modern Pentathlon competitions are conducted over a single day. The first element is fencing, for which athletes are required to fence against every other athlete. The fencing is then followed by swimming (200m freestyle) and riding (jumping over a 12-jump course). Athletes are given a score for each element of the competition. After the first three elements, the athletes' total scores are converted into a time handicap. The handicap determines the starting times for the combined run/shoot element, for which athletes are required to shoot at sets of five targets after running four x 800m cross-country laps. The winner of the competition is the athlete who crosses the finish line first.
Technical and Competitions Officer – Captain (Retd) Frank Quinn
Telephone (m): +44 (0) 7976 847869
Centre of Excellence (Sandhurst) Coach – Marine Lee Ormerod
Telephone (m): +44 (0) 7809 771659