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New Pentathlon Discipline: Test Event II launched as participants give seal of approval

Modern Pentathlon
  • Manila (PHI) to host second test of Obstacle Discipline in August
  • Survey reveals 92-93% satisfaction with Test Event I in Ankara (TUR)
  • Views of athletes and observers will inform next steps


Athletes from Asia and around the world will have an opportunity to sample Obstacle Discipline when the second official test of the concept takes place in Manila, Philippines, next month.

New Pentathlon Discipline Test Event II will be held at Bridgetowne Central Park on August 6-7 in parallel with the Asian leg of the Ninja World Cup, run by the Pilipinas Obstacle Sports Federation (POSF) in collaboration with World Obstacle (FISO).

  • Click here to register for Test Event II

Invitations were issued today and UIPM will supply a challenging obstacle course that is fair to all pentathletes and obstacle specialists who take part.

As in the successful Test Event in Ankara (TUR) last week, the first day will consist of a practical explanation and free training session, followed by a second day of qualification rounds and finals in all categories.

Meanwhile, the Obstacle Discipline pioneers who took part in Test Event I have given the event a resounding seal of approval.

Of the 36 pentathletes who competed, 28 answered a tailored survey provided by UIPM at the end of the day. Nine obstacle athletes responded to a second survey and 15 observers (coaches and officials) answered a third.

More than nine out of 10 participating pentathletes (92%) and observers (93%) said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the overall Test Event experience.

Other insights included:

  • 88% of pentathletes were satisfied or very satisfied with the enjoyment of the competition
  • 84% of pentathletes were satisfied or very satisfied with the design of obstacles (look and feel)
  • 71% of pentathletes and 92% of observers were satisfied or very satisfied with the level of technical difficulty
  • 68% of pentathletes were satisfied or very satisfied with the physical demands of the course (only 8% were unsatisfied)
  • 72% of pentathletes and 74% of observers were satisfied or very satisfied with the excitement of the head-to-head format
  • 84% of pentathletes and 82% of observers were satisfied or very satisfied with the attractiveness of Obstacle design to global audiences and youth

One question posed to obstacle athletes asked if they would consider starting to practise the other disciplines of Modern Pentathlon following the Test Event. More than half (56%) of respondents said they were likely or extremely likely to do that.


Athlete comments

Two aspiring pentathletes from Thailand, who will make their first trip overseas when they travel to Manila (PHI) for Test Event II, described how they felt when they heard the news.

Sasitorn Kunkit (THA) said: “It’s amazing news that the New Pentathlon Discipline is coming to Asia. I’m so excited to meet athletes from other countries during the Test Event in Manila.

“If Obstacle Discipline replaces Riding in Modern Pentathlon, it means we can truly dream of competing in the Olympic Games.

“Right now, we simply can’t compete at the same level because Riding is too difficult to organise here. We actually have good opportunities to train for Obstacle Discipline because we can use a special gym here where Navy Seals from the US also train.”

Poranat Charoenying (THA) said: “I’m really excited to take part in the Test Event in August, I think it will be very interesting as a pentathlete to test my skills on the obstacle course and learn how the obstacle athletes train and race.

“I’ve seen obstacle racing shows like Ninja Warrior on TV and it’s such a buzz, it’s amazing to think we might be able to compete in this kind of racing in the future.”


Obstacle athlete Louise Ferriman of Great Britain, speaking in a recent edition of the Obstacle Racing Media podcast, said: “I think the event in Ankara was really successful in so far as there was a lot of young blood out there. The young pentathletes transferred their athletic prowess on to our rigs amazingly, and they were so keen to listen and learn and be part of it, and it was just a really good vibe.

“It was really important that we went out there and showed our sport and our community ethos, and how accessible it can be to everybody.”

Yasser Hefny of Egypt, UIPM Athletes Committee Chair, said: “The feedback among athletes who took part in the first Test Event of Obstacle Discipline – not only in the competition day, but also in the free training day – has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Some athletes have been understandably cautious about embracing the new discipline, which is a fundamental change to Modern Pentathlon and the way we train and compete. It is good to see that some who opposed Obstacle Discipline initially are now more open to the idea, and feedback has been especially positive from junior and youth athletes who participated in Ankara. All pentathletes who took part demonstrated their versatility in adapting to this new opportunity.

“We continue to communicate very closely with our global athlete community to make sure everyone fully understands the context behind the change and has the opportunity to express their feelings and be heard.”


Coach comments

Christian Roudaut of France, UIPM Coaches Committee Chair, said: “Conditions in Ankara were excellent and we are grateful to the obstacle athletes for their advice and expertise. It’s important to note that Obstacle Discipline is in a testing phase and there are many points to work on, especially around organisational format and rules.

“I think all coaches present in Ankara could be very proud of the capacity of pentathletes to adapt and acquire the first technical elements of this new discipline. Members of the Coaches Committee are sharing information and working in partnership with our counterparts from FISO to understand more about training and preparation methods.

“The participation of coaches from the entire Pentathlon family will be essential to arrive at the final format. This new direction for Modern Pentathlon can give us opportunities for development all around the world.”


UIPM comments

UIPM President Dr Klaus Schormann said: “On behalf of the UIPM Executive Board, I am pleased to say that the first Test Event of the Obstacle Discipline can be declared a success.

“We already have a second Test Event in the pipeline and can look forward to seeing more athletes from different communities coming together to try this exciting new concept, which promises to transform Modern Pentathlon into one of the most popular, dynamic and accessible sports in the Olympic Games.

“I encourage athletes to take all possible opportunities to learn more about Obstacle Discipline and play a part in shaping the future of Modern Pentathlon. By doing so they can help to make our sport and the Olympic Games more appealing to younger fans around the world, more sustainable and more commercially attractive.”


UIPM Operations Director Dr Alexandre Franca said: “The responses to the three surveys distributed to athletes and observers in Ankara will be fully evaluated and will inform preparations for Test Event II and future Obstacle Discipline tests.

“As well as rating their level of satisfaction with various aspects of the event, respondents identified areas for improvement and we are already looking closely at the balance of obstacles between the physical demands of upper body and legs, contingencies for rain, measures to prevent skin injuries and the height of obstacles.”


FISO comments

FISO President Ian Adamson said: “The FISO and UIPM athletes, officials and organisers did an excellent job delivering a balanced course and competition for Test Event I. The goal of the course was to provide a balanced representation of the wide diversity of obstacles and formats in obstacle course racing and Ninja competitions. 

“The overwhelming consensus is we achieved this objective. We are excited to refine the course for the second test, taking into account observations and feedback from the first test and from the Pentathlon and Obstacle communities.”



Obstacle Discipline was selected in May 2022 for testing as UIPM explores the possibility of integrating the globally popular racing concept into Modern Pentathlon after the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. At the end of the testing and evaluation phase, UIPM 2022 Congress will vote on proposals for the Los Angeles 2028 Modern Pentathlon format to be submitted to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).


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