Pentathlon GB said it was a “sad day” for the sport, as world governing body UIPM announced riding would be dropped after the Paris Olympics.
UIPM released the news, rumours of which had been spreading for days, yesterday (4 November), stating that a consultation would run on which sport would be brought in.
In response, Pentathlon GB chairman David Armstrong said the governing body is aware the decision will have come as a “significant shock” to athletes.
“This is a sad day for modern pentathlon,” he said. “Many of our athletes came into the sport from an equestrian background and have a proud tradition as accomplished and keen riders.
“We are, of course, disappointed at the suddenness of this decision and the lack of consultation until now, but we also understand that modern pentathlon’s place in the Olympic Games is very important and was under threat. We will be exploring with the UIPM the impact of this decision on our sport and fully supporting the search for a new, fifth discipline, but meanwhile we have a team to prepare for Paris 2024 where we will be double defending Olympic champions.”
Pentathlon GB said the decision had “most likely” been taken in light of the scenes during the women’s event in Tokyo, which sparked worldwide outrage.
“But also because of a desire to make the sport more accessible,” a spokesman said.
“These ambitions are acknowledged but it is disappointing that the excellent work done by the sport’s riding working group in recent weeks has not been given the opportunity to be tested in practice before this decision was made.
“British pentathletes have always enthusiastically supported the riding discipline and many of our leading athletes have come into the sport from a riding background, most notably Tokyo gold medallist Kate French. Others have come to the sport from a non-riding background and excelled, such as Olympic champion Joe Choong. The sport will be very different without this important source of new athletes and we will have to fully assess our talent pathways.”
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