Obstacle racing set to replace horses in modern pentathlon
MONACO (AP) — Under pressure to remove horse riding, modern pentathlon will test obstacle racing as a replacement in time for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
Modern pentathlon’s governing body, known by its French acronym UIPM, said Monday it received “over 60 proposals” and will test two types of obstacle racing starting after the World Cup finals in late June.
The change has proved unpopular with athletes who, in one of the most traditional Olympics sports, have competed in five disciplines — fencing, swimming, equestrian jumping, pistol shooting and cross-country running. That format will be kept for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Removing the jumping portion was encouraged by the IOC after an incident of horse abuse at the Tokyo Olympics last year. Athletes must ride a horse that is unfamiliar to them, and one that refused to jump for the German leader of the women’s competition was hit by a team coach.
During months of consultation led by the UIPM, and mostly held in secret, hundreds of athletes including Olympic gold medalists signed a letter of no confidence in its executive board and long-time president Klaus Schormann.
Obstacle racing was proposed on Monday by the UIPM board, although it will need to win final approval from a congress of member federations.
The Pentathlon United group of athletes questioned why only obstacle racing would be tested when so many options had been presented.
“We repeat our call for the IOC to intervene & make clear to (the UIPM board) that they must listen to the views of the athletes who have spoken so clearly in our survey,” the group said on its Twitter account.
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