Olympic Modern Penthalon Coach Disqualified for Punching Horse

Annika Schleu (GER) and Saint Boy in the Modern Pentathlon Tokyo 2020 - Screenshot from EuroSport Coverage

Olympic Modern Penthalon Coach Disqualified for Punching Horse

An Olympic Modern Penthalon coach has been disqualified from this year’s Games, after punching a horse during the equestrian showjumping phase.

Germany’s modern pentathlon coach, Kim Raisner, was disqualified from the remainder of the Olympic Games after she punched, horse, Saint Boy.

Coaching Team Germany’s Annika Schleu, Raisner explained she was attempting to help control the horse. Annika entered the showjumping phase with a considerable lead over the rest of the field and a favourite to win. However, her ride, appeared spooked entering the arena, refusing several jumps on course.

Under Modern Pentathlon rules, athletes are given just 20 minutes to get to grips with an unfamiliar horse. Even before the event had begun, Annika was in floods of tears seemingly upset by her allotted ride. Some speculated Annika’s upset was due to a previous round including Saint Boy. This saw athlete, Gulnaz Gubaydullina, eliminated after jumping the horse. Although, the rules do state that riders can opt to switch to a reserve ride if they so wish.


Samantha Murray, an Olympic silver medallist and world champion, also suggested it was largely the rider at fault during the round;

When you try to break it down, you can see that it’s largely rider error, the mistakes.”

“I think she was quite put off, because when this horse first went into the arena in the first round, she was eliminated on this horse. That probably set a bit of a panic off with this athlete. So when she would have got on this horse, she would have been a bit stressed. That transcends into the horse. Horses can’t see the rider, they can only feel you when you’re on top.”

After repeatedly kicking and whipping the horse to move forwards, Annika’s coach, Kim Raisner, stepped in from the sidelines and punched the horse’s hindquarters.

The UIPM, the sport’s international governing body, subsequently released a statement on the events. It confirmed that Raisner, a former Olympian herself, had been disqualified from the Games.

The statement read;

The UIPM Executive Board (EB) has given a black card to the Germany 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.”

Team Germany’s Olympic Chief, Alfons Hoermann, also confirmed the coach had been withdrawn from Tokyo. He stated an “urgent review” was necessary regarding animal welfare. In response to the scenes, a petition regarding Modern Pentathalon horse welfare has also been made.

Annika held a 24-second advantage heading to the phase, after the fencing and swimming. Finishing fourth in Rio 2016, the faults on course meant she dropped out of medal contention once again.

Consequently, after a cool, collected performance, the women’s modern pentathlon was won by Team GB’s Kate French. She become Britain’s second gold medallist in the event, after Stephanie Cook won it two decades prior in Sydney.

Header Image; Annika Schleu (GER) and Saint Boy in the Modern Pentathlon Tokyo 2020 [Screenshot from EuroSport coverage]

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