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Jan Bártů: oration

Read Dr Cassie Wilson's oration on Mr Jan Bártů for the honorary degree of Doctor of Business Administration in May 2017.


Pro-Vice-Chancellor, it is my pleasure to introduce Jan Bártů, who is the long-serving National Performance Director for Modern Pentathon GB.

In 1998, Jan established the National Training Centre for Modern Pentathlon at the University of Bath, implementing the Performance Pathway System which has seen modern pentathlon become one of Britain’s most successful Olympic sports.

Under his guidance, medals have been won at four Olympic Games, starting with a historic gold for Stephanie Cook and bronze for Kate Allenby at Sydney 2000. Georgina Harland also won bronze four years later in Athens and Heather Fell took silver at Beijing 2008. University of Bath graduate Samantha Murray notably won Team GB’s final medal of London 2012, also a silver, and is one of three pentathletes to be crowned as World Champion during Jan’s tenure, along with Stephanie Cook in 2001 and Mhairi Spence in 2012.

Prior to becoming a coach, Jan enjoyed a successful modern pentathlon career of his own, winning individual bronze and team silver while representing his native Czechoslovakia at the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games. He also competed at the Moscow Games four years later, before becoming Technical Director of Czechoslovak Pentathlon in 1986. Jan held that role for four years, before serving as Head Coach with the Mexican national team from 1990 to 1994 and the US Pentathlon Association from 1995 to 1997. He assumed his current role with Pentathlon GB in April 1998 and is one of the longest serving Performance Directors in British sport.

Jan has built a world-class training programme from the ground up and has coached world and Olympic champions at our Sports Training Village. He is always a strong advocate for the University, promoting the Sports Training Village within the high-performance sporting fraternity and is always ready to welcome the many dignitaries who visit, which he does with charm and enthusiasm.

One of his ambitions, since taking the role of National Performance Director, was to see a major championship staged at Pentathlon GB’s home at the University of Bath; that dream was realised in August 2015, when the University hosted the European Championships, bringing together more than one hundred of the continent’s top all-round athletes. This was a great honour for the University and it would not have been possible without the hard work, drive and commitment of Jan. One of the notable legacies of the championships has been further growth in profile for Bath and the University itself.

Jan was inducted into the University’s Sporting Hall of Fame just prior to the European Championships and is a prominent role model and inspiration for all athletes who train in the Sports Training Village.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor, I present to you Jan Bártů, who is eminently worthy to receive the degree of Doctor of Business Administration, honoris causa.

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