Fernon snares the Modern Open Pentathlon Championship

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Shari Wakefield

Sydney University’s Ed Fernon became Australia’s Modern Open Pentathlon champion last week, igniting his drive for a London Olympic berth.

Being organised and dedicated are both attributes that have helped Fernon not only make his way to the top of his sport, but also complete two years towards a Bachelor of Commerce at Sydney University.

“Ultimately, I would like to make the 2012 London Olympics – but there is always a large scale for error in the pentathlon,” Fernon said.

The mixture of physical and mental skills demanded in the Modern Pentathlon, where five diverse and unrelated sports are combined – Show Jumping, Fencing, Pistol Shooting, a 200m swim and a 3km cross country run – mean that anything can happen in the one day of competition.

Fernon is working towards perfecting all of his events by training closely with Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness’ head coaches.

“Being part of the Elite Athlete Program at Sydney Uni Sport has been fantastic ,” he said. “It has put me in contact with a lot of specialised coaches. And it has helped me with travel grants so that I could compete overseas.”

Even though the Modern Pentathlon may seem relatively obscure in Australia, Fernon is not short of competition. He competes against the best Australia has to offer in their respective fields.

“I want to swim against the swimmers, run against the runners, shoot against the shooters, so that I can get as much competition as I can,” he said.

The Modern Pentathlete may not associate himself with the liaison officer whose romantic adventures inspired the sport. But they do demonstrate the timeless characteristics of courage, co-ordination, physical fitness, self-discipline and flexibility in ever-changing circumstances.

Fernon’s next competition is in July, where he will compete in the World Junior Championships in Taiwan.