Naval Pentathlon: It’s so different, yet so awesome



WUHAN (CHN) - The athletes and competitors for the naval pentathlon event have the farthest distance to travel from the centre of the games, located at the Mulan Lake Campus of Naval University of Engineering.  While it might be isolated, the competition is standard is so good, you will want to stop and watch.

Five events that might not fit into “the norm”; the obstacle race, life-saving and utility swimming, the seamanship race and amphibious cross-country race. Where else in the world would you find disciplines or events like the above?

These athletes have trained it for, they have prepared for it.  Challenges like these are a very normal part of what they do for a living.  Perhaps two things are different; it’s now turned competitive when it comes to representing your country, and the dynamic they do it in - performing to crowds or spectators.



While observing the life-saving swimming race - a 75-metre dash, including the retrieval of a mannequin from a platform (where the swimmer must dive to “save” them) - there is no holding back; they are leaving it all out there in the quest for military and national glory.

This is an event you’ll become instantly hooked on, and Swedish athlete and Private 4th Class Cecilia Sjoeholm (2nd place lifesaving swimming) was all smiles at the end of her run in the pool, as well as demonstrating why she wanted to participate in the naval pentathlon. 

“I am a swimmer so it was quite easy for me to do the lifesaving and utility swimming, then I have started to learn to run.  It only took a couple of years.



“Toughest discipline is definitely the obstacle and amphibious courses; you have to run fast.”

Sjoeholm could not curb her enthusiasm at being involved, as well as lauding the games and facilities presented for the event.  It might involve some sacrifices along the way, but her tone and attitude suggests it’s all been worth it.

“The track is one of the best tracks in the world, and all the facilities and venues are of a very high level.  You can absolutely see that the girl’s level is higher than ever; we also have a lot of new teams, and people have trained a lot.”



Sjoeholm is able to balance her strengths and improve on the disciplines that may not be her forte in order to achieve the best possible result.  And on this day in the pool, it wasn’t just about the results.  A huge, rousing cheer went up for all the recipients of the souvenir ceremony after the men’s lifesaving swimming - Finland, Poland and Brazil all had athletes on the podium, but the warm embrace that Brazilian competitor (and men’s lifesaving swimming winner) Joao Farche had with Poland’s Mateusz Kierzkowski was felt throughout the entire stadium.  Athletes from every single nation, not just Farche’s own, showed it was far more than just winning or scoring the most points - it was about the spirit of friendship and coming together to showcase their sport to the world.



In the pool, on the water, differences are set aside.  Bonds are forged so strong that they become etched in history for these athletes.  The show of support was first class, where other countries are cheering and motivating competitors from other nations, bringing home a sense of affection, friendship and camaraderie that you are unlikely to find anywhere else.


 (Source: CISM Media and Communication Department - Journalist and Photographer: Mr. Davis Harrigan)