|Shiny Fang - Secretary General, UIPM|
|Profile of the week|
Monday, 26 October 2015 11:28
Shiny Fang is a former athlete of Synchronizing swimming and Gymnastics Aerobics, head coach, international judge, professor of Sun Yat-Sen University (1999-2006), and chief instructor for a series of educational programs. She has been involved in the sports industry and international relations since 2004, and part time responsible for UIPM International Affairs since 2008.
What does the television picture look like for Modern Pentathlon at the moment?
TV for us actually is a challenge, because this is a one day event, so it means when you want to have a good TV programme, it doesn’t matter if it’s live streaming, live TV or the highlights, you have to really grab the exciting moments because the athletes’ rankings are always changing and until the last second you cannot know who is the best, so that is something for our TV.
We focus on more highlight format, even for live streaming and the TV.
So the editing and post-production demands are probably quite high because you have to integrate five different competitions with multiple athletes?
It is and we do different formats of highlights but that’s true, we need more highlight formats.
The digital world is becoming more important, how do you see this developing for Modern Pentathlon, is this a positive trend for you?
Digital technology is something really incredible, fast and sometimes I’m thinking you can’t be really old school because we have to catch up and that’s all we’ve been trying to do since the start of this year.
So for this type of development with everything online, the contents can be really dynamic and different and because audiences are different we need to talk to the different audiences.
For UIPM we are trying to use all different social platforms as much as possible to spread the message of the sport and to increase awareness, that’s the focus and strategy we have now.
Would you say Modern Pentathlon has a focus on a core group of Modern Pentathlon people or do you also focus on the various sports individually and reach out to them in terms of your target?
That is something we’re doing, because when we are talking about UIPM of course the flag sport and Olympic sport is Modern Pentathlon, but besides that we have a lot of different combinations, for example four disciplines, three, two and different two combinations.
The Rio 2016 Olympics is not that far away, how is the Rio picture shaping up for you?
One thing about Rio, which is a pity, is that we don’t have the same amount of seats as Beijing or London, we only have 15,000 seats because we’re sharing with Rugby Sevens.
But the good thing is maybe this is the first time for an Olympic audience to see pentathlon in a very compact stadium where we’re trying to have four disciplines in one venue, except swimming, so that would be something new for the audience.
But 15,000 is still a nice size and will probably give people a better view, right?
Yes, sure. Sometimes when the stadium is too big, you don’t feel the centre part, so we don’t complain, we’re happy with that as long as we can combine everything together and we have especially this time the fencing bonus, which will happen outdoor, that is also something new and also its good for the audience to see all four disciplines together one by one within five hours.
You have other events and other ways in which you put together Modern Pentathlon, could you take us through those?
We have five disciplines together which is the Olympic sport Modern Pentathlon. We have four disciplines together without riding and then we use this format for Youth and for Youth Olympic Games as well as for Para-Pentathlon and the university sports.
Then we have three disciplines without fencing and riding, which means, swimming, running and shooting, which we call Triathle and this is used for beach games and our world championships. Also swimming and running are two disciplines that are very popular.
The most important thing is we have a latest version we call Laser-Run, it’s the last event of modern pentathlon which is running and shooting combined.
We separated this as individual events this year and we just had our first edition of the world championships and it is so accessible and so easy, everybody wants to try and that’s indeed the most exciting moment for the pentathlon competition as well so this Laser-Run competition is really our new baby and created originally from UIPM and its for everyone.
In terms of competition and the global picture of Modern Pentathlon, do you find that the success of Modern Pentathlon is spread across the world or are there certain countries that are dominant?
When people are talking about Modern Pentathlon the first impression should be that it’s a European sport and that’s true, its roots are here.
Now the sport has started blooming and with different formats is much more accessible and the good thing is we understood that is a challenge because not everybody knows the sport of Modern Pentathlon, because when you have all different things together, the first thing people say is that it’s complicated or its expensive and maybe it is at some level, but that’s only for the elite group.
But beside this elite group which is very classic, we still have different formats, therefore we think when we spread the message of the sport that’s a perfect chance for us to spread the message of the sport’s identity, the sport’s characters and DNA.
For us it’s not like a team sport such as basketball or football, people know them since they are born, for us you need to create the knowledge for the public and this can never happen naturally, it will only happen when you make it happen.
One of the things in your favour is tradition because Modern Pentathlon was one of the founding sports of the Olympics so you have that historic connection, but in a world that’s evolving, where tastes are evolving, do you find that you need to tinker? For example the gun used in the shooting is different to what it was years ago.
We had laser shooting since 2009, but the first time we used it was at the Youth Olympic Games and that was really successful because people have fun and then you have very less limitation.
So that’s something we started years ago and now we really see why we should have done that, because first of all the cost, it’s much more cheaper, when you have expensive equipment it just makes people scared so we have different types of equipment and the cheapest one you can get is 200 or 300 euros, which is very easy for people to buy and there is no limitation.
You can transfer everywhere, so that’s really the convenient part for the laser shooting and you can shoot everywhere.
So with this, that’s why we have Laser Run, Biathle and Triathle, everything relates to this part and this is something really the character of pentathlon because you have your technical and at the same time you have your endurance and your speed, so everything together makes athletes not feel bored and they have fun.
You have riding as one of your disciplines, so do the contestants have their own horses, or do they share horses?
When we talk about horses the first question is always, did you bring your own horse? No, of course not.
That’s a big difference between equestrian and pentathlon because the purpose is to test the pentathletes to select the most complete athlete which means riding is part of the event, its part of the competition, they don’t need to use their own horses, they use the organiser’s horses, so which means they have 20 minutes before the competition, they have the warming up, so that’s something that’s really challenging for pentathletes.
But it decreases complication for athletes when they have to train their own horses, so that’s something we keep telling people, you don’t need your own horses, you can train anywhere and when you go to competition bring your own stuff that’s it, so not really something that complicated.