Date: 30/01/2008 Category: Leisure
World-class sport is coming to Medway. The Pentathlon GB’s Board of Directors voted earlier this month to stage the British leg of the modern pentathlon world cup series in Medway, and Medway Council's commitment to hosting the event was unanimously approved by Cabinet on Tuesday, 29 January. Subject to approval by full council in March and final agreement between partners, Medway will be welcoming 200 of the world’s best modern pentathletes in April 2010. The athletes will take part in the four-day competition at Medway Park, the former Black Lion leisure centre in Gillingham, that is currently undergoing an £11m transformation into a regional centre of sporting excellence. The modern pentathlon is a multi-sport event comprising five disciplines – swimming, fencing, show-jumping, shooting and running. It was introduced to the Olympics by the Games’ founder, Pierre de Coubertin, and is recognised as one of the most testing Olympic events. The World Cup is an annual series of international competitions to find the year’s leading modern pentathlete, attracting the cream of the sport’s competitors from across the globe. The 2010 World Cup is an intrinsic part of the preparation of the Pentathlon GB’s elite athletes and officials for 2012. Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services Cllr Howard Doe said: “Medway has aspirations to be recognised as a high-calibre sporting venue for national and international events. It is a great honour for us to host the modern pentathlon world cup at Medway Park.” Peter Hart, Chief Executive of Pentathlon GB, said: “We have been extremely impressed by Medway’s commitment and enthusiasm for bringing our sport to a new audience, delivering a high-quality event and also providing a programme to ensure the long-term development of the sport.” The cost of bringing the pentathalon to Medway has been capped at £90,000, which includes a programme of sports development activity to encourage the growth of modern pentathlon locally. Sue Mappin, chair of the South East Major Sports Events Group, had backed Medway’s bid to stage the 2010 World Cup. She said: “This prestigious sporting event will create greater potential to boost economic growth, presenting the south east as a competitive, professional and desirable destination to host sporting events.” Great Britain has twice won Olympic gold in the sport – in 1976 and 2000 - and Kent’s Georgina Harland won Olympic bronze at Athens in 2004. Medway can also boast a champion modern pentathlete. James Myatt from High Halstow - a member of the Medway Elite Athlete Support Programme - is current GB Under-18 champion and is tipped as one of the sport’s future stars at senior level.