Following the development of an MOU between Hillcrest International Schools and the Modern Pentathlon Federation Kenya (MPFK); the partners will be hosting two international coaches as Kenya gears up to participate in the upcoming World Championships set to take place in Sarasota, USA.
The training will take place over 10 days with student athletes receiving training from selected coaches among them Ahmed Amer who is a licensed international judge of the Modern Pentathlon competition as well as, a former coach to modern pentathlete 2009 World Junior Champion, Aya Medany. Mohamed Eid is the second coach as conscripted by the MPFK. He has been an active member of Egypt’s Modern Pentathlon team since 2005 and is the current head coach of El Gizira’s modern pentathlon club in Egypt.
The president of the MPFK, Fridah Shiroya thanked Hillcrest Schools management for hosting the Egyptian coaches over the 10 day training period. “We are working together with our International Federation to create awareness of diversity in sports to our Youth. For 10 days the coaches will cover Nairobi’s Braeburn and Hillcrest Schools; thereafter St Andrews Turi and Greensteds Schools in the hope that this will create interest for future games. We have a bright future as MPFK as our first athlete went for Olympic qualification in Cairo last year and two athletes for the Biathle in Georgia,” described Shiroya.
Modern pentathlon remains a sport that Kenya holds great potential to excel in; the all-encompassing sport incorporates running, swimming, target shooting, horse riding and epee fencing. To begin training aspiring pentathletes are encouraged to have a strong foundation in swimming and running, other skills can be developed through good coaching and practice.
Through the invited coaches, the MPFK seeks to give school sports staff and students a first hand experience of epee fencing, which is a rare practice opportunity in Kenya. Currently Egypt remains Africa’s strongest pentathlon contender, the MPFK seeks to grow their partnership with the country to develop training and competitive skills. Through its membership with the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM), the MPFK hopes to continue utilising its resources for sponsorship in Kenya’s development in the sport and sourcing of accomplished coaches.
“Hillcrest Schools decided to work alongside the MPFK because we were motivated by the concept that one of our students could represent Kenya in the modern pentathlon at an elite event such as the Olympic Games,” described Chris Starling, Deputy Head Co-Curricular at Hillcrest Secondary.
“We were also encouraged to develop this partnership as we learnt more about other events such as the biathle and triathle. Two of our sixth formers have recently represented Kenya in these events at the World Championships in Georgia. It therefore seemed to be the obvious partnership to develop and provide our students the opportunity to receive training from elite coaches and use specialist equipment,” described Starling.
Currently Kenya has no local training or competition opportunities in epee, hence the MPFK’s pursuance of these fencing coaches to develop expertise in the country. With the aim of establishing local trainers and athletes; Hillcrest remains at the fore of achieving MPFK’s future goal to develop a school competition league through its investment in fencing equipment.
Kenya Team Coach and MPFK member Sharon Hays outlined the importance for Kenya to begin training athletes over the next four years to ensure athletes qualify for the 2020 Olympics. Emphasising the breadth of skill in the country as abound with talented runners and swimmers having every possibility of becoming Modern Pentathletes.