A Devon modern pentathlete aiming for Olympic glory is among those the Army pays to pursue a full-time sporting career.
Second Lieutenant Kerenza Bryson hopes to represent Team GB at next year’s Paris Olympics.
Kerenza, known as Kay, a Reservist with Plymouth-based 265 Port (Devon) Squadron, 165 Port and Maritime, Royal Logistic Corps, won women’s individual gold at the Modern Pentathlon World Cup in Sofia, Bulgaria in May before competing in the World Modern Pentathlon Championships in Bath this summer.
She says her dreams are massively boosted by the Army’s programme for elite athletes.
The 25-year-old said: “I want to thank my unit for their constant support and commitment to my Olympic dream. I am also extremely grateful for the Army Sports Control Board who have encouraged me since I started in the University Officer Training Corps (UOTC).
“I get a lot more support with pentathlon than I had before I joined the Reserves which has helped me hugely in performance progression. I have been able to access better training, coaching and more advanced kit.
“The support I have received through the Army has really contributed to my performances so far this year and will make all the difference next year leading into the games.”
Formerly a student at the University of Plymouth Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, she joined the Army Reserve for last two years of her studies and graduated as a doctor after six years.
She is now taking a year out of medicine to train full time for the Paris Olympics.
Kay, who grew up in Ivybridge, Devon, said: “I am a doctor by trade and will go on to practise medicine after I finish my sporting career. I am hoping to join the regular Army as a doctor in the future.
“I joined the Reserves so I could manage alongside training and studying, and it is teaching me how to manage junior officer roles and responsibilities.
“My unit supports me hugely in balancing my sport and medical careers. I wanted to join the Army for the opportunities in sport, travel, and the type of medicine I am interested in specialising in, trauma and emergency.”
Her day-to-day role, as a troop commander consists of Maritime Surveillance, career development and a new social media officer role. She also deals with any pastoral issues that may arise. She has also organised overseas Adventure Training events and has a group of potential junior officers she mentors and develops towards commissioning.
She says: “I don’t have time for much outside of Modern Pentathlon, the Army and medicine but I have paused my medical career for a period, so am hoping to find time for some of my smaller hobbies such as painting and reading.
“I have learnt about the working environment as this was my first real job. The importance of organisation, time management and team working.
“Also managing soldiers’ reserve careers is challenging and very individual. Making sure I know all my soldiers and can communicate well with them has been important.
“I have become better at public speaking and leading since working in the Army and have been able to apply the skills I have learnt to other areas of my life.”
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