UP student represents SA at UIPM Laser-Run World Championships


David Kabwa, a first year Political Science student represented South Africa at the Union Internationale de Pentathalone Moderne (UIPM) 2017 Laser-Run World Championships. The third annual leg of the relatively new sport was held in Cape Town on 14 and 15 October.

Kabwa competed in the Junior Male category. He came fifth in the individual race with a time of 16:45:00 and came first in the team laser-run race with fellow South Africans Neytwin Laminie and Gareth Voster. Their collective time was 46:18:00.

Laser-run is the original creation of UIPM which merges laser shooting with running. Athletes have to hit a target five times before they can run. UIPM’s website adds that “the total number of hits is 20 and the total running distance is 3200 meters”. D ue to the high intensity, one has to keep focused, particularly when shooting. “I close one eye and look down the scope of the pisto l. In [that] moment, nothing else matters,” Kabwa said.

Kabwa said he went for the laser-run trials earlier this year, following the advice of a friend. In preparation for the world championships, Kabwa said he trained close to 600 hours. This consisted of training for up to two hours every day except for Sundays, where he trained for only 30 minutes. He admitted that slotting in training time to his schedule was often difficult du e to his many commitments. “I got up at 03:30 every morning to get my training in,” he said.

His training was not short of challenges. In September, he pulled a ligament and sprained his ankle. Kabwa, however, concealed his injuries. “Nothing was going to stop me,” said Kabwa.

Kabwa said he felt “overwhelmed” by the reality of being a medallist at the world championships. He said, “I fell to my knees and was overcome by a sense of accomplishment. This was seven years in the making”.

His achievement has pushed him closer to his dream of representing South Africa at the Olympic Games in the future. While the laser-run is not yet a sport in the main Olympic Games, Kabwa hopes to participate in the Youth Olympic Games which have added the laser-run in their events. Kabwa explains that “any athlete who competes in any of the disciplines within a pentathalon is considered to be a pentathlete […] I would have to go through that route and then compete in the modern pentathalon and that is how I would get into the Olympics”.


Photo: Michael Ridge

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