POSTED: Wednesday July 18th 2012

Modern Pentathlon: From Singapore to London, Vega Moves Quick!

Tamara Vega was only 14 when she decided to move away from home and family and pursue the dream of being a modern pentathlete.

Three years later, the Mexican was already one of the most talented athletes of her generation, finishing in 10th place at the 2010 Singapore Youth Olympic Games. 

The following year, she was crowned youth world champion and gained an Olympic spot in front of a home crowd, thanks to a bronze medal at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara - which made her one of the first YOG athletes to qualify for London.

That’s when Vega finally realised that she could aim high in the sport.
“These were my first good results and I started to see that my level was growing,” she said.

“The Youth Championships changed my perception. I became conscious that I could grow in pentathlon and be one of the best.

“During the Pan American Games, I wasn’t planning to get a medal, it was a great surprise. I am still very young and have a lot to learn, but it was nice to realise that what I know so far is good enough.

“Qualifying for the Olympics was a very emotional moment. My mom cried and I was so, so happy,” she added.

Vega admits that the road to the Olympic Games has not always been easy, especially in the beginning.

In order to train at a higher level, she left her local club in the state of Chihuaha, moved to a national training centre in Mexico City, and had to learn how to be independent, even though she was an early teenager.

“I missed my family a lot. It was the first time I was by myself in another city,” she said.

“But, since day one, my mother worked hard for me. She was the one who took my sister and I to swimming lessons at 5am when I was a child and was through swimming that I was introduced to pentathlon.

“When I began pentathlon she fought a lot for me, helping me get the equipment I needed to train.

“Thanks to her I started my career. She accepted my decision to move out and that’s why I am where I am,” she added.

Vega also found the support needed to adjust to a new life in her coach Sergio Escalante, whom she considers the responsible for her technical evolution and personal growth.

“When I moved to Mexico City, he thought I was talented and started training me. He is like a father to me. He took care of me and taught me everything I know in sport and also lots of things that helped me mature as a person,” she said.

“He is tough during training and he has to be. He has been my coach for a very long time so he knows my weaknesses and my strengths.

“When I qualified for London, he said: ‘congratulations, now let’s go back to training’,” she joked.

“Out of training he is a great friend, I can tell him my problems and he supports me a lot.”

The YOG was their first big competition and, although Vega was not pleased with her performance, she admits her confidence was improved. 

“It helped me mature. Before that, if I didn’t do well on a fencing competition, I would give up and feel it was all over,” she said.

“Then, I saw how other athletes managed to pull themselves together and I thought I could do the same. I started trusting myself more, that competition made me stronger.”

Vega and Escalante are aiming for a top-15 finish in London and part of their training included a one-month fencing camp in Hungary in April.

The 19-year-old knows she still has a long way to go in the sport.

At the moment, the goal is to make the most out of the Olympic experience.

“I am anxious to know how the Olympic Games are. I want to enjoy it. In the next Olympics in Rio I will be thinking about results,” she said.

“That is why I love pentathlon. It gave me the chance to go to many countries I never thought I would go. Pentathlon taught me many things, made me independent. I grew as a person thanks to it and I love this sport because it has given me so much.”

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Keywords · Modern Pentathlon · London 2012 · Pentathlon · Pentathlete · Olympics · Olympic Games · London · UIPM · IOC · Coubertin · Run · Shoot · Swim · Ride · Fence · Great Britain · Youth Olympic Games · Vega · Tamara · Youth World Champion · Mexico · Mexican

Name: Matt Pound
Organization: Union Internationale De Pentathlon Moderne - UIPM
Phone: +377 9777 8555

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