AIS invests in modern pentathlon medal hope
AIS expertise and Commonwealth funding could help propel modern pentathlete Chloe Esposito on to the Olympic podium and into Australian sports history.
After six years of gruelling training in five sports, the 20-year-old Sydney athlete has hit peak form – just in time for the London Games.
It’s hoped a Green and Gold Project funding grant and AIS-devised high-altitude training could push her further to win Australia’s first Olympic medal in modern pentathlon.
Chloe’s father and coach Daniel Esposito, who represented Australia in the sport at the 1984 Olympics, said: ‘The AIS has taken my training methods from the 1980s to 2012’.
‘For the last six months we’ve been working with the AIS Sports Science area with Professor Chris Gore, educating me in the latest techniques to improve performance in competition, which has helped immensely,’ he said.
‘It’s lifted Chloe’s performance up to the next level on the performance ladder.’
Mr Esposito said swimming and running tests performed after training at the AIS’s BOC Altitude House had seen a 15 per cent improvement in Chloe’s performance.
The success of the altitude simulation had convinced her coaching team to base their final Olympic preparations in France, using the grant from the $4.5 million Green and Gold Project, which targets top performers to maximise Australia’s medal chances.
The grant will fund Chloe’s three remaining international competitions before the London 2012 Olympic Games. It also paid for her recent World Cup 1 and 2 events in the United States and Rio de Janiero, where she was placed 5th and 3rd respectively. These placements saw her take the sport’s top athletes and commentators by surprise and Chloe became only the second Australian to win a senior World Cup medal.
‘I was surprised as I didn’t think I was that fit,’ said Chloe. ‘I knew I was getting there but I’m not at my peak fitness – I know I can improve a bit. I was trying to stay positive and believe I could do it.’
Chloe and her father were also scouring the complex rules of the five pentathlon sports to avoid disqualification or point deductions for offences such as jumping the wrong way in a show jumping warm-up.
Mr Esposito welcomed the Green and Gold funding: ‘As a father I am very grateful – myself and my wife, we’re just workers and it’s been a financial burden on our family for Chloe’s preparation going to London - the funding has helped us immensely.’
Chloe credited her father with her success: ‘I know 100 per cent I would not have been able to get the results that I have without Dad’s coaching although he is very hard on me because I’m his daughter and he knows what I can do.’
The Espositos said the AIS had provided invaluable expertise and facilities to aid their Olympic campaign and acknowledged Professor Gore, Sports Performance and Planning Director, David Crocker and Clinical Services Manager, Liz Broad.
Chloe will compete in the Modern Pentathlon World Cup 3 in Hungary on 12 April, the World Championships in Rome from 7 to 13 May and the World Cup Final in China on 26 May.
She will return in June to the AIS for a last training camp before leaving for France in July.