Brazilian Army Sets Its Sites on Olympic Pentathlon
By Dialogo May 13, 2011
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil – The Brazilian Army is seeking a return
to being a home of Olympic champions.
Its best medal hopefuls are in the modern pentathlon, a sport in which
athletes must shoot pistols, fence with épées, freestyle swim, show jump horses and
run 3,000 meters.
And Brazil has started to shine in the event. The favorite of the women’s
division is Sgt. Yane Marques. The 27-year-old native of the town of Afogados de
Ingazeira in the countryside of the state of Pernambuco is ranked sixth by the
International Union of Modern Pentathlon.
Marques was discovered by military team coach Maj. Alexandre França during a
regional biathlon (swimming and running) in the city of Recife, in the state of
Pernambuco, in 2003. By 19, Marques was challenged to become a skilled swordsman,
marksman and equestrian.
She mastered it all, and did so quickly.
Frenchman Sebastien dos Santos, Marques’s fencing coach, was impressed by her
performance during his first few training sessions.
“Yane is very focused, as well as a quick learner,” says Santos, who also is
coaching the U.S. team. “She made an impression on everybody, not just me.”
Just four years after taking up the modern pentathlon, Marques already has
racked up a string of impressive victories, including winning gold at the 2007 Pan
American Games in Rio de Janeiro.
And that was just the beginning.
She won silver in the 2009 Modern Pentathlon World Cup Final, also held in
Rio de Janeiro. In 2010, Marques came in second in the World Military Modern
Pentathlon Championships in Prague in the Czech Republic and first at the Pan
In 2011, she turned her attention to the Modern Penthathlon World Cup and, of
course, the Military World Games,
which will be held in Rio de Janeiro from July 16-24.
She has just placed fifth in the final series of the World Cup, in Hungary,
after taking 17th in April, in Italy, and eighth, in February, in the United States.
Marques attributes her success to the training she receives from the
Brazilian Army, which is why she’s focused on winning gold at the Military World
“My goal for 2011 is the Military World Games,” says Marques, who said the
army has led to her living a more disciplined life. “If I’ve managed to live and
breathe the sport and to have the freedom to train my hardest, it’s because I’m in
“Being an athlete requires focus. I had that focus from the day I joined the
military,” Marques adds. “I bring it to my training as well as my life.”
Marques also hopes to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London. In her Olympic
debut at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, she finished 18th.
The Brazilian Modern
Pentathlon Confederation’s program PentaJovem brought
the world the rookie sensation from Rio de Janeiro: Juliana Domingues.
Domingues, 14, is the youngest pentathlete in South America. When she started
the sport, her strength was riding a horse, but she quickly developed the other
skills needed to compete for first-place finishes.
Domingues has an ambitious goal: compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de
“Every day I train, I think of the International Youth Olympic Games (in
China) in 2014, and the Olympics in Rio,” she says. “I want to progress.”
The PentaJovem program is based in Recife and in Rio de
In Rio, about 50 young athletes are learning and practicing the sport at the
Military Circle in the neighborhood of Deodoro.
The army has made significant contributions to Brazil’s Olympic achievements.
Brazil’s first Olympic gold medal was won by a soldier.
In the 1920
Olympics in Antwerp Belgium, Lt. Guilherme Paraense won gold in the free pistol
In the1952 Olympics in Helsinki Finland, Brazilian José Telles da Conceição
won bronze in the high jump with a leap of 1.98 meters.
And where was he introduced to the sport?
At the Army Vocational School, where he was studying.