Rumours abound that riding may be dropped from the modern pentathlon — although the world governing body is maintaining silence on the issue.
H&H has heard that an executive board meeting was held on Sunday (1 November) and the decision was made to exclude the horse element of the competition. World governing body UIPM has not responded to H&H’s requests for comment but said in a statement today (3 November): “As part of UIPM’s commitment to maintaining a strong, dynamic profile for #ModernPentathlon, a series of strategic meetings are being held.
“These meetings will include an upcoming call with national federations later this week.
“The outcome of these meetings will be detailed in a press release to be published on 4 November.”
The governing body came under worldwide pressure this summer after distressing scenes in the women’s modern pentathlon at the Olympics. As a result, it formed a working group tasked with reviewing the riding in Tokyo and looking into any changes needed to improve horse welfare.
In late September, UIPM president Klaus Schormann said UIPM “remains fully committed to riding as an integral part of the modern pentathlon based on the vision of Baron Pierre de Coubertin and we look forward to doing so in an even safer, more secure way”.
Former modern pentathlete Kate Allenby, who won bronze at the Sydney 2000 Games, told H&H she felt for the members of the working group, whom she says are “very good people, who have been working so hard”.
“I’m furious for those people, and the sport,” she said. “You think, how long [has UIPM] known about this, was it a smokescreen?”
Kate added that it is “terrifying” to think of modern pentathlon without riding.
“What’s going to happen to the sport?” she added. “Baron Pierre de Coubertin’s vision has always been the trump card to stay in the Games, and without riding, it’s a different product.”
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