Tribute to Cornel Vena
It is with great sadness that one of the true greats of Pentathlon in Australia has passed away a little over a week ago.
Cornel Vena first came to Australia for the 1956 Olympics held in Melbourne representing his home country of Romania.
Following the Olympics, Cornel stayed in Australia and continued competing in both Pentathlon and Fencing.
A brief summary of his career is as below :
- Born in 1932 in Romania.
- Died in 2017 Townsville, Qld, Australia.
- 1954 he won the 1st Romanian Pentathlon Champion.
- He went on to become the National Champion in 1955 as well as the National Triathlon Champion (Swim, Run, Shoot).
- In 1956 he competed at the Melbourne Olympics as part of the Romanian team.
- He won the fencing with 29 wins and 6 losses out of 35 bouts scoring a Record number of points.
- It is believed that this OIympic record remains as one of the longest standing records (if not the longest)
- He finished 14th overall individually.
- Following the Olympics, Cornell remained in Australia and married an Australian.
- He became the Australian Champion in 1957
- And continued to compete in Modern Pentathlon in Australia right through to 1979.
- In 1997, the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Romania retrospectively awarded Cornel the title of Master of Sports.
- Cornel eventually moved to Townsville and established a Fencing club there before taking a well deserved break from the sport as he got older - but remained a keen observer of the sport.
Although age eventually caught up with him, Cornel had a highly successful sporting life and gave as much to the sport as he got from it.
His record of 29 wins 6 losses in the fencing component of Modern Pentathlon may never be broken as the closest anyone has come in the 60 years since is last year at Rio where Russian Aleksandr Lesun won 28 & had 7 losses.