UIPM Respond To Calls For Modern Pentathlon Changes
The UIPM respond to calls for Modern Pentathlon changes after uproar from Tokyo 2020.
After the Tokyo Olympics saw German rider, Annika Schleu and her coach, Kim Raisner, play part in distressing scenes, the sport has been put under the limelight for horse welfare.
In the international televised event, Annika Schleu was witnessed in tears aboard her allocated ride, Saint Boy. Going into the showjumping phase of the Olympic-level competition, Schleu had just 20 minutes to get to know the horse as the rules of sport state. However, entering the arena distressed, the Saint Boy was uncooperative, leading to Annika repeatedly kicking and whipping the horse to move forwards. Annika’s coach, Raisner, then stepped in from the sidelines and punched the horse’s hindquarters.
Despite disqualification from the event, viewing left equestrians and the general public calling for more to be done in the interest the of horses. Petitions were launched, accumulating nearly 40,000 signatures, to date in an attempt to bring rule changes. Meanwhile, discussion surrounding the fairness of athletes given a horse to rider at random, just moments before competition, was held across social media.
Team Germany’s Olympic Chief, Alfons Hoermann, stated an “urgent review” was necessary regarding animal welfare.
Now, the UIPM, the governing body for Modern Penthalon, has released a statement on horse and athlete welfare. The statement reads;
The unpredictability of athletes riding on unfamiliar drawn horses, with only 20 minutes to establish an understanding, is part of the dramatic spectacle that makes Modern Pentathlon unique and compelling.”
As part of the sporting challenge, all the horses have the proven ability to jump the course and are selected with an ability to manage new riders. The UIPM also reiterated that the riders also have the proven ability to ride the horses, being selected for the Olympic teams.
The statement continued;
Not only will UIPM conduct a full review of the Riding discipline of the Women’s Modern Pentathlon at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, it will also reinforce the importance of horse welfare and athlete safety across the entire global competition structure. UIPM regrets the trauma suffered by Saint Boy in this high-profile incident and has penalised the coach who violated the UIPM Competition Rules by striking the horse from outside the ring.”
“Although no athlete or horse was physically injured on August 6, the best possible safeguards must be in place to minimise risk in future.”
:Changes in Riding were already in the pipeline due to the new Modern Pentathlon format coming into force in 2022 for the Paris 2024 Olympic cycle. Horse welfare and athlete safety will be at the centre of this process and the UIPM 2021 Congress in November will provide an opportunity for UIPM’s national member federations to participate in a collective effort to secure the future of Riding in Modern Pentathlon.”
For the full statement, click here.
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