Modern pentathlon: Showjumping to be removed for 2028 Olympics

Modern pentathlon
Showjumping has been part of the modern pentathlon since the event was created by Pierre de Coubertin and first contested at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm

Showjumping is to be cut from the modern pentathlon, the International Modern Pentathlon Union has announced.

The removal of the equestrian section was made after the UIPM executive board endorsed recommendations from a meeting in Monaco last week.

The changes will come into force after the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

The UIPM called it a “historic move” and says it “has opened a consultation process to identify a suitable replacement for riding”.

“All changes resulting from the consultation process will be implemented in time for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Summer Games,” added a UIPM statement.

Showjumping has been part of the modern pentathlon since the event was created by Pierre de Coubertin and first contested at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm.

“A new discipline will provide fresh impetus to our sport and strengthen the position of modern pentathlon within the Olympic movement,” said UIPM president Dr Klaus Schormann.

“The modern pentathlon will remain a five-discipline sport and will continue to provide the ultimate moral and physical examination of an athlete, as Coubertin envisaged.

“In all of our communications with various stakeholders, we have all agreed that we need to keep our sport at the highest possible level, designed to test the physical and mental qualities of the complete athlete.

“We now look forward to an inclusive and very positive consultation process as we consider which sporting discipline is the most suitable to take modern pentathlon into a new era, alongside swimming, fencing and laser run (laser shooting and running).”

‘A sad day for modern pentathlon’

During the Olympics in the summer, German coach Kim Raisner was heard on German TV urging tearful athlete Annika Schleu to “really hit” the horse as she struggled to control Saint Boy during the showjumping round.

David Armstrong, the chair of Pentathlon GB, described removing showjumping as “a sad day for modern pentathlon”.

He added: “Many of our athletes came into the sport from an equestrian background and have a proud tradition as accomplished and keen riders.

“We are aware that this decision will come as a significant shock to them and we will be supporting them through this unsettling time.

“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.”

Kate Allenby, a GB bronze medallist at the 2000 Games in Sydney, is against the move by the UIPM.

“Everybody is slightly reeling to hear it’s official, it’s been rumoured for a couple of days. It’s shocking,” Allenby told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“It’s not [as a result of the incident in Tokyo]. When we put these questions to the UIPM, they said discussions have been taking place since 2017 and 2018.

“This is frustrating because there has been no consultation in these years. Nobody knew anything to do with this until this week.

“It’s extraordinary that these discussions have been taking place behind closed doors.”

Britain’s Samantha Murray won silver at the 2012 London Olympics and gold at the World Championships in 2014.

“Poor governance and a president in place for 28 years has failed us,” she said on social media.

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