Local and international officials behind four pentathlon events the Sarasota-Bradenton region will host during the next three years announced Sunday that phases of the first event — the 2014 World Cup Final in June — will be held at the Sarasota Polo Club in Lakewood Ranch.
James Hamill-Reeves, the director of Union International de Pentathlon Modern, and John Amabile, the director of communication for USA Pentathlon, traveled to Sarasota-Bradenton this weekend to tour the Sarasota Polo Club and the Selby Aquatics Center, the two venues where the various components of the pentathlon world cup final — swimming, fencing, running, shooting and equestrian show jumping — will take place.
“We are ecstatic to have Lakewood Ranch as a host,” said Katherine Harris, the lead organizer for the event, at a press conference Sunday at the polo club. “I called and met with Rex Jensen (president and CEO of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, Lakewood Ranch’s developer) and he said he would do anything to support the Sarasota-Bradenton community.”
Nathan Benderson Park was originally tabbed to host the majority of the events, but scheduling conflicts there —created by local competitions — specifically, the Sunshine State Games —forced local officials to reach out to other venues in the Sarasota-Bradenton community.
The polo club will serve as the site for equestrian, running and shooting events, as well as the “ladder” portion of the fencing competition.
The Selby Aquatics Center will host swimming and the round-robin component of fencing.
A local team led by Harris, a former congresswomen, and Paul Blackketter, president of the Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates, which operates Nathan Benderson Park, submitted the bid in November to host the four world pentathlon events.
Harris is leading efforts to raise $750,000 to $1 million from the private sector to host the June 5-8 world cup final, which will feature the best 36 male and 36 females in the sport.
June’s world cup final is the first in the United States in more than 40 years.
Officials will need to raise a total of $5 million to put on all of the events, including a world cup in March 2015 and the world cup final and Olympic qualifier in June 2016.
See more on this story in the Feb. 27 East County Observer.
Contact Josh Siegel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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12 LWRBA March Membership Luncheon
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