Chengdu, the capital of China’s Sichuan Province, is to host the Modern Pentathlon World Championships next summer from Aug.10 to 16. The construction of the 370,000-square-meter China Pentathlon Competition Center kicked off yesterday in Shuangliu County in the city, where the combination of pistol shooting, running, swimming, horse jumping and fencing will be played.
“It’s the 1st time that the World Championships will come to Asia,” said Jiang Guofeng, the director of China Pentathlon Association to China Sports Review. “There’s also modern pentathlon events for us at Guangzhou Asian Games next year, and we will strive to host as many tournaments as possible in the future.”
Qian Zhenhua (钱震华), the country’s most notable pentathlon athlete, claimed gold in the 2005 Warsaw World Championships. The 29-year-old ranked 4th in the Beijing Games, the best ever result for China in the Olympics. Qian practiced swimming for nine years in Xuhui District Sports School in Shanghai since 1985, and shifted to Shanghai Pentathlon Team in 1994. Like him, all of China’s pentathlon athletes were swimmers or runners in local sports schools.
“We now have about 180 pentathlon athletes in the country. A small number compared with other sports,” said Jiang. “The thing is there’s no pentathlon athletes in ground-level sports schools as the schools can’t afford to have horses.”
Aside from the concern about horses, the difficulty of getting more young athletes trained under the juguo system might be compounded by the seeming complexity of coaching pentathlon athletes. To China’s sports officials, putting money and resources into sports like table tennis and badminton in which the country outplays others might look more cost-effective.
Photo: Jiangxi Daily
- The New York Times: Modern Pentathlon Gets a Little Less Penta
- BBC: GB quartet win pentathlon bronze
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