Great Britain Modern Pentathlete, Tom Toolis, supports the BRIT Ambassador family
We are delighted that Tom is part of our BRIT Ambassador family to support and improve young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK. Tom has represented Great Britain in the Modern Pentathlon for almost 10 years. Among his many accomplishments, Tom has won a European Championship Gold medal and a World Championship Bronze medal in the team events. At the 2021 World Cup in Hungary, Tom won the first World Cup medal of his career by securing silver and entered the Top 10 in World Rankings. Due to the World Championships being held in Egypt, and the country being on the UK’s Red List, the PentathlonGB Team were unable to compete; this was Tom’s last change to guarantee an Olympic qualifying spot. Despite this, he travelled to Tokyo as a reserve athlete and supported the team throughout the Olympic Games and was delighted to see Kate French and Joe Choong win gold medals for PentathlonGB.
“As a former student, and having trained at the University of Bath as an Elite Athlete for almost 10 years, I appreciate that there has been a constant increase in the mental health difficulties faced by young adults and students. Maintaining good physical and mental health is so important for young adult and student wellbeing, and it has been deeply concerning that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on the lives of so many students; particularly those with existing mental health challenge or who are vulnerable.
The British Inspiration Trust (BRIT) are determined to support and improve the mental health and fitness of as many students and young adults as possible by delivering their annual UK-wide BRIT Challenge. It’s great to see that the BRIT Challenge has been designed to be an inclusive feelgood February fundraiser that enables students and young adults of all abilities to take part wherever they are (at home or on campus); by hand-cycling, cycling, wheelchair pushing, swimming, walking, jogging, running, rowing or paddling (canoeing, kayaking or paddle-boarding).
I am very much looking forward to collaborating with BRIT again to try and tackle mental health issues across the UK. Also, it’s really exciting that as of this year, BRIT are inviting every university and college taking part in the BRIT Challenge to choose a second charity to raise funds for, alongside BRIT, to support local, regional and national charities.
BRIT deliver inspiration and encouragement by inviting retired and current Olympians, Paralympians, Sports Personalities, Adventurers and Explorers to join their BRIT Ambassador family. As BRIT Ambassadors, we hope to promote the BRIT Challenge across different universities and colleges, encourage participation, destigmatise mental health and champion equality, diversity and inclusion. I hope my fellow GB athletes from all sports will be inspired to join our BRIT Ambassador family and try to make a difference in their own way.
I would be delighted to support and encourage students and staff at St Mary’s University Twickenham, University of Bath and Coopers Company and Coborn School as they take on their BRIT Challenge.”
Great Britain Modern Pentathlete
Tom graduated from the University of Bath with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sport and Exercise Science and then graduated from St Mary’s University, Twickenham with a Master of Science degree in Applied Sports and Exercise Physiology. Based at Pentathlon GB’s National Training Centre at the University of Bath, Tom has been part of the World Class Programme for almost 10 years. Modern pentathlon comprises of five diverse disciplines: swimming, fencing, riding, running and shooting. Each discipline is held separately, apart from running and shooting, which are held together in a challenging and exciting combined laser-run (formally known as the combined run-shoot), which is traditionally the final discipline of the competition.
Competitors gain modern pentathlon points across each discipline, resulting in a handicapped start for the laser-run. The winner of the competition is the person who gains the most points across all five disciplines. Thanks to the handicap start in the laser-run, the winner of the whole event, is simply the first person to cross the finish line. Tom has competed in all major competitions up to the World Championships; some of his top achievements to date include coming 3rd in the Junior and Senior European Championships in the Men’s Relay event, coming 3rd Individually at the International Budapest Open Competition and Qualifying for the World Cup Final in 2015. During the 2019 season, Tom finished 6th in a World Cup, qualified for the World Cup final (finishing 14th) and won a European Championship Gold medal and a World Championship Bronze medal in the team events. At the 2021 Grand Final in Hungary, in May, Tom claimed the first World Cup medal of his career by winning silver.
In June, Tom was due to compete in the World Championships in Egypt. This was Tom’s last chance to guarantee an Olympic qualifying spot to represent Great Britain. Due to Egypt going on the UK’S COVID-19 Red List, PentathlonGB were unable to obtain insurance for the team to travel and compete. Shortly afterwards, and despite having the best season of his life having been in the Top 10 in the World Rankings and medalling at the World Cup final, Tom was informed that he hadn’t been selected to compete as one of the two GB men going to the Olympic Games. After dedicating 10 years of his life to the sport, and doing everything in his power to reach the Olympics, it was heart-breaking for Tom to not achieve his goal. He did travel to Tokyo as a reserve athlete and Tom continued training until the Olympic Games were over to support the athletes that had been selected. Although he was not competing, Tom still wanted to see a GB athlete standing on the podium. It was extra special for Tom that he was able to see @katefrench3 and @joechoong123 bring in two gold medals for @pentathlongb For more information on Pentathlon GB and the Modern Pentathlon, please visit the Pentathlon GB website. To follow Tom’s journey, he is on Twitter and on Instagram.