UPDATE: Pentathlete qualifies for 2020 Olympics by striking gold at Pan Am Games
Charles Fernandez defended his gold medal in the modern pentathlon Sunday at the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru, qualifying to represent Guatemala at his second consecutive Summer Olympic Games, set for July 24-Aug. 9, 2020 in Tokyo.
Fernandez, a rising senior on Liberty University’s men’s swimming & diving team, finished first out of 32 contestants in the 3,200-meter run/laser shooting competition, completing the shooting phase in 48.39 seconds and the run in 10:48. He placed second in the 200-meter swim in 2:02.40, tied for second in the fencing competition, and finished fourth in the equestrian riding/show jumping event. In the overall medal standings, Fernandez edged out silver medalist of Esteban Bustos Rodriguez of Chile and bronze medalist Sergio Villamayor of Argentina.
Complete results are available online.
Men's swimmer in Peru for Pan Am Games, targeting 2020 Olympic bid in pentathlon
Modern pentathlete Charles Fernandez, a rising senior economics major in Liberty University’s online program who trains locally with the Flames’ men’s swimming & diving team, is seeking to secure a bid to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo with a top-five finish at the Pan Am Games in Peru.
Fernandez was 18 when he became the youngest pentathlete to strike gold at the Pan Am Games, qualifying to represent Guatemala at the 2016 Summer Games in Brazil, where he placed 15th overall. He arrived in Lima, Peru, on Sunday to prepare for Friday’s start of the five-day, five-sport competition.
Fernandez must be one of the top two competitors from North, Central America and the Caribbean at the Pan Am Games to clinch his second Olympic berth, with three other bids granted to the top two finishers from South America and one at-large qualifier.
Besides Liberty men’s swimming Head Coach Heath Grishaw, Fernandez has a contingent of 18 friends and family members, mostly from Guatemala, who traveled to cheer him on in Peru.
Friday’s fencing trials will be followed by equestrian, running, swimming, and shooting preliminaries with overall medals awarded on Tuesday, July 30.
In recent months, while training in Poland at a modern pentathlon camp led by a coach from Ireland, he traveled to four major pentathlon competitions in Europe — the UIPM World Cup held April 9-14 in Bulgaria, others in Hungary from April 30-May 5 and the Czech Republic from May 22-27, and the International Belarus Open from July 4-7.