British former Olympic champion joins pentathlon group to help tackle riding concerns

  • A working group has been formed to urgently address concerns about horse welfare in modern pentathlon – and to “prevent any repeat of the distressing scenes” seen in Tokyo.

    On Friday (20 August) the UIPM announced the “10-strong” riding working group that will be chaired by 1976 Olympic champion Janusz Peciak of Poland. He will be joined by five Olympians and some of the “world leading” pentathlon coaches and experts, including Brits James Cooke, who took part in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, and former Olympic champion Stephanie Cook, who won gold at the 2000 Sydney Games.

    The news follows UIPM’s pledge to make changes to the sport following the scenes of the women’s competition in Tokyo on 6 August during which German Annika Schleu was seen in tears as her ride Saint Boy napped, and later refused to jump.

    “Within four days of the end of the Games, UIPM committed to urgent improvements in horse welfare in modern pentathlon and the formation of the riding working group is the first outcome of that process,” said a UIPM spokesman.

    The group will review the riding competition at the Tokyo Games and discuss a range of measures designed to “prevent any repeat of the distressing scenes that occurred”.

    On 17 August UIPM president Klaus Schormann met with FEI president Ingmar De Vos and it was agreed the FEI will provide two specialists to work with UIPM as consultants, advising on technical jumping and the veterinary aspects of horse welfare.

    “I am delighted that we have the support of the FEI along with our own expertise within modern pentathlon as we work towards solutions that result in improved horse welfare and athlete safety in our sport,” said Dr Schormann.

    “I am grateful to Ingmar de Vos and very pleased that we are entering a new era of cooperation between our two international federations.”

    Another measure to be introduced is a three-person disciplinary panel appointed by the UIPM executive board. The panel, made up of Modern Pentathlon Confederation president Rob Stull and UIPM executive board members Martin Dawe and Viascheslav Malishev, will review the events of the riding competition in the women’s event in Tokyo.

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