The Olympic dream for a student-athlete
Joe Choong tells us how he has balanced his maths studies and his modern pentathlon training before heading to Rio.
Being selected by Team GB for Rio is a big moment for me. The Olympics has been a dream since I started the sport at Year 9 in school.
Life as a student-athlete
I joined the University in 2013 and it was not a difficult decision to come here. It has been excellent for my subject - Maths, and has the National Training Centre for Pentathlon GB. Everything just works well together.
One of the main attractions about the University as a student-athlete is that it’s all on one campus. I can go from training in the morning straight to lectures or the Library to start working towards my degree, then head back to training in the afternoon. I would really recommend it to all student-athletes.
My typical day is really busy but I enjoy the challenge. I usually have a run at 8am, then quickly head off to my lectures at 9.15am. I’m usually there for two or three hours, although sometimes I have to fit a swimming session in, then I go for lunch. In the afternoon we have 90 minutes of swimming, followed by another 90 minutes of fencing, shooting or riding going through to the evening.
There is a lot to fit in but the Department of Mathematical Sciences has been fantastic and is always more than happy to support my training. They have let me split my years in the past and this year let me defer so that I can concentrate on giving the Olympics my best shot.
In terms of sports, there are fantastic facilities here. We go on a lot of training camps around the world and no other country has the same level of facilities as we do at Bath, like the fantastic outdoor track and the Olympic legacy pool. The whole setup is excellent.
We have also received great support on site, including access to the English Institute of Sport (EiS), physios, a psychologist and a nutritionist. They provide me with professional analysis and advice that make all the difference.
I am also supported by an Ivor Powell Sporting Scholarship, on top of my National Lottery funding through Pentathlon GB. We have five sports and there is a lot of travelling involved, so the scholarship really helps to cover training and equipment costs.
When you start a sport and start doing well, you always keep looking at the next level and thinking bigger, and it doesn’t get any bigger than the Olympics. I can’t wait to get out there.