The German modern pentathlon team coach seen striking a napping horse with her fist in yesterday’s (6 August) Tokyo Olympics women’s competition was banned from the men’s competition after widespread uproar.
German competitor Annika Schleu was in the gold-medal position going into the showjumping phase, in which competitors ride borrowed horses on a course of up to 1.20m.
In tears as her ride Saint Boy napped, Annika was seen hitting and kicking the horse. As he neared the fence, coach Kim Raisner leaned over and struck him with her fist.
Saint Boy did start the course but having been crashed through one oxer, he napped again and then refused to jump.
Social media erupted last night with concerns for the welfare of the horses involved in the competition.
In an initial statement the world modern pentathlon governing body UIPM said it “acknowledges the messages received in recent hours from people concerned about horse and athlete welfare in modern pentathlon”, adding: “Today we are focused on delivering the best possible Olympic competition for our male athletes and will follow up with a statement in due course.”
Today’s statement read: “The UIPM executive board (EB) has given a black card to the German team coach Kim Raisner, disqualifying her from the remainder of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“The EB reviewed video footage that showed Ms Raisner appearing to strike the horse Saint Boy, ridden by Annika Schleu (GER), with her fist during the riding discipline of the women’s modern pentathlon competition.
“Her actions were deemed to be in violation of the UIPM competition rules, which are applied to all recognised modern pentathlon competitions including the Olympic Games.
“The EB decision was made today at the Tokyo stadium before the resumption of the men’s modern pentathlon competition.”
The German Olympic federation has called for a rule change.
In a statement, the DOSB said: “Numerous recognisable excessive demands on horse-rider combinations should be an urgent reason for the international association to change the rules.
“It needs to be redesigned to protect horse and rider. The welfare of the animals and fair competition conditions for the athletes must be the focus.”
Olympic women’s modern pentathlon medalists
Britain’s Kate French won Olympic individual gold in the women’s event with 1,385 points. Silver went to Lithuanian Laura Asadauskaite on 1,370 and bronze to Hungary’s Sarolta Kovacs on 1,368.
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