Pentathlete Fernon earns Olympic selection

Steve Larkin
Modern Pentathlete Ed Fernon has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics after four years out of the sport

Australian modern pentathlete Ed Fernon has capped a remarkable comeback to the sport by securing selection for next year's Tokyo Olympics.

Fernon, after a four-year absence from international competition, returned at the Asia-Oceania Championships in China to claim the automatic Oceania qualifying slot for the Tokyo Games.

The 2012 Olympian finished ahead of compatriot Rhys Lanskey and, as the best-placed Oceania athlete in the event in Wuhan, ensured selection for Tokyo.

The 31-year-old Fernon competed in China after just three months of full training.

"Three months ago, this was the furthest thing, to come back and have another shot," he said.

"I'm really proud of what I have been able to achieve."

Father-of-two Fernon only returned to the sport at the behest of his running coach Dean Gleeson and with encouragement from his wife.

"It shows that when you relax and draw on experience of all of those past competitions, and knowing what you have to do," he said.

"I knew I could just go out there and perform. It's probably the most relaxed I have ever been in any competition."

Fernon was 14th in Wuhan in the 32-strong field but was the top Oceania athlete, finishing ahead of Australian national champion Lanskey, an 18-year-old from Brisbane, who placed 19th.

Modern Pentathlon Australia president Kitty Chiller said both Australians deserved credit for their performances.

"It really has been a remarkable competition by both guys and for vastly different reasons," Chiller said.

"Ed having had almost four years away and just back training for three months.

"And then Rhys who was talent identified by the Queensland Academy of Sport and only in the sport for 18 months ... (he) is an outstanding prospect for the future."