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UIPM appoints independent panel to review neutral athlete eligibility

  • Three-time Olympian Aya Medany OLY to chair five-person panel
  • Panel will assess applications according to criteria agreed with IOC
  • President Schormann praises ‘highly qualified and objective’ panel members

The Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) has appointed a five-person independent panel to review the eligibility of athletes with Russia or Belarus passports who apply to compete in UIPM Sports in a neutral capacity.

The panel, chaired by three-time Olympian Aya Medany OLY (Egypt) and comprising Ana Ruth Orellana (Guatemala), Sungjoo Park (Korea), Nishanthe Piyasena (Sri Lanka) and Dr Harald Vervaecke (Belgium), will assess all applications from athletes and support personnel based on criteria to be set by the UIPM Executive Board in collaboration with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The panel will also consider timings for the opening of the pathway back to competition in UIPM Sports for any athletes who fulfil the criteria, and any other relevant aspects.

The UIPM panel (see biographies below) was assembled in response to the IOC’s recommendations published on 28 March in respect of the rights of athletes who are currently restricted from competing because of the sanctions imposed on Russia and Belarus since the military invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

UIPM President Dr Klaus Schormann said: “First I would like to underline that UIPM is unwavering in its solidarity to the Ukraine Modern Pentathlon community, and we will continue to support athletes who are affected by the invasion of Ukraine in any way possible.

“On behalf of the UIPM Executive Board I express my deep satisfaction that the individuals appointed to sit on this review panel are highly qualified and objective, bringing a wide variety of expertise to this complex task.

“The panel will ensure that all neutral athlete applications are thoroughly considered and assessed based on the criteria agreed with the IOC. This follows UIPM’s commitment given on to supporting a pathway for athletes with Russia and Belarus passports to return to UIPM Sports.

“I take this opportunity to reaffirm our firm commitment to a policy of non-discrimination in the UIPM Sports movement.”

Panel member biographies:

  • Chair: Aya Medany OLY PhD (Egypt)
    • Three-time Olympian in Modern Pentathlon (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012) and two-time world champion
    • Serving Member of the Egyptian Parliament (2021-2026)
    • Champion for Peace ambassador with Peace and Sports
    • Member of the IOC Athletes Commission, IOC Olympics 365 Commission, IOC Public Affairs and Corporate Communications Commission
    • Chair of the Egyptian Olympic Committee Athletes Commission
    • Chairperson of the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation (ISSF) Athletes Commission
    • Member of the UIPM Women’s Commission
    • Former Chair of the UIPM Athletes Committee


  • Ana Ruth Orellana (Guatemala)
    • Member of the UIPM Technical Committee
    • International Judge in Modern Pentathlon and UIPM Judges Certification Programme (JCP) Educator
    • Executive Board Member and former Secretary of the Guatemala Modern Pentathlon Association
    • Former member of the Women in Sport Committee at the Guatemalan Olympic Committee
    • Pan American Championship silver medallist in Modern Pentathlon
    • Central American and Caribbean Games bronze medallist in Fencing
    • Olympia Column recipient from the Guatemala Olympic Committee




Dr Harald Varvaecke PhD (Belgium)

  • Secretary General, International Lifesaving Federation
  • Lecturer and Professor in Sports Management at the University of Leuven
  • President, Belgian Modern Pentathlon Federation
  • Member, UIPM Commission for Culture and Education
  • Former Director of Sport, International Military Sports Council (CISM)
  • Former Member of the European Commission responsible for curriculum building in physical education and coach training
  • Coordinator of Master Plans for multi-sport Games including the 1st Military World Games and the 2006 Asian Games in Doha (QAT)
  • Author of numerous books and more than 100 scientific articles


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