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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

East Kilbride athlete jets to Turkey for ‘Olympics chance’

East Kilbride teenager Harvey Mitchell-Divers jets to Turkey this week to take part in an event that could eventually lead to a place in the 2028 Olympic Games.

The talented athlete, who specialises in obstacle course racing (OCR) is taking part in the UIPM Pentathlon in Ankara, which will give him a taste of how suited he is to the sport, while boosting the prospect of OCR replacing horse riding in the five events.

The UIPM Pentathlon is a trial event for OCR’s possible inclusion in the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028 – which is being pushed by Spartan Race CEO Joe De Sena – as they look at selecting two variations of obstacle racing.

The 17-year-old said: “I’m looking to enjoy it, but also to promote OCR and try to get it into the Olympics as the fifth discipline of modern pentathlon, as much as I can.

“There are a few people from the UK OCR scene and Obstacle Course Federation, and we’re going over as Team UK and to push it as much as we can, to try and get the spot.

“Hopefully the trial event goes well, and the UIPM can go ahead with it.

“I also want to do the best I can in the race. I’m not out of my depth, but it’s different to what I’ve been doing.”

Mitchell-Divers added: “I’m looking forward to it, it will be a cracking experience.

“It’s a bit of a step-up and I’m a wee bit nervous about it.



East Kilbride athlete jets to Turkey for ‘Olympics chance’
Mitchell-Divers (left) with Spartan CEO Joe De Sena, who has made it a lifelong ambition to get Obstacle Course Racing into the Olympics

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Obviously I’ve done a lot of obstacles and training with [coach] Scott Brown, but all the obstacles have been over long distances, half-marathon or 10k distances, and have been quite spread out. This is more of a 100m, and it’s very different, but I’m looking forward to it.

“I’ll give it my best shot and hopefully I’ll do all right in it.”

A pupil at St Andrew’s and St Bride’s High School, Mitchell-Divers says he needs to get better at the other pentathlon events of fencing, freestyle swimming and laser run, but existing pentathletes also have to master OCR.

He added: “Potentially, this could lead to the Olympics and it’s good to aim high, I guess.

“But I’ve got a few sessions lined up over at Stirling University, practicing the other disciplines of modern pentathlon, because if it’s happening, this is what’s going in as the fifth sport.

“All going well they’ll make the change, and I’ll need to learn how to fence and get better at swimming!

“I grew up with a variety of different sports. I’m always open to trying new things and giving different sports a go, so I’d be well up for it.

“Going to the Olympics would be something else, top-end stuff, so that would be amazing.”

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