Hartpury’s European Biathle champion, Bradley Sutton, will be aiming to add another gold to his collection as he travels to Guatemala for the Biathle World Championships.
Sutton, 16, is the reigning Under-17s European Champion in the event which requires competitors to complete a continuous run, swim and run over a distance of 2200 metres.
Facing 27 other competitors from across the continent, Sutton went around 30 seconds faster than any previous time he had recorded in the event to claim gold at the Europeans in Portugal earlier in the year.
The A-level student will now look to replicate this performance as he travels to Central America this week to take part in the worldwide event.
Sutton will spend five days in Guatemala where he will compete on Friday 10th October at the Pacific Naval Command and he’s confident about his prospects.
“I’m aiming for a podium finish this time around,” he said. “I’m feeling confident after my performance in Portugal but I’m aware that this time I’ll be up against more and tougher competitors given it’s on the world stage. I’ll need to be at my best.
“It’s the first time I’ll have been in Guatemala and I’m looking forward to competing somewhere new on a new course.”
In Portugal, despite beating his best time by around 30 seconds, Sutton felt that the course had a particularly tough swimming phase as the tidal water made swimming more difficult.
“I don’t concentrate on my time really as courses can vary hugely from place to place,” he said.
”But I know that in Guatemala the swim won’t be affected by the tide as it’s staged in a lake, so I’ll be hoping to improve on the time of my swim from Portugal and just hope I can go as fast over the running stages.”
Sutton, who was introduced to Hartpury through the Modern Pentathlon World Class programme which runs there, is looking forward to continuing his development at the college.
“Being able to train in a dedicated environment with the right facilities and top-class coaching is something which will definitely help me develop,” he said. It’s fantastic being able to continue my elite training alongside my studies and I think that’s going to be really beneficial for me.”
There was more good news for the modern pentathlon programme at Hartpury as 16-year-old A-level student Harry Sykes finished fourth at the National Modern Tetrathlon competition in Solihull.
Modern Tetrathlon sees competitors compete in swimming, fencing and a combined event, which involves a four-time loop of an 800-metre run followed by successfully shooting down five targets.
Having finished third in both the swim and the combined event and claiming a top 10 in the fencing, Sykes was within touching distance of overall second place, eventually finishing fourth out of more than 200 competitors.
Harry’s coach, Bernie Moss, said: “Harry was competing in a very strong age group where many of the athletes had much greater experience than him so his result is very pleasing, especially since he has only been back in training for three weeks following his close season break .”
Sykes’ aim over the next year is to be ranked high enough to be selected for the Youth A European and World Championships. He will now go into a series of modern biathlon (running and swimming) and modern triathlon (running swimming and laser pistol shooting) events culminating in the Schools Biathlon Finals at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park at the end of March next year.