UIPM Secretary General’s message: Why Asia is embracing the game changer
You may have read this a few times lately, but the integration of Obstacle into Modern Pentathlon is a true game changer. With every week that passes, the feeling grows stronger that compelling opportunities lie ahead for young and new Modern Pentathlon countries.
UIPM Sports was presented in two continental multi-sport Games in September – the Mediterranean Beach Games and the Asian Games, with Triathle and Pentathlon respectively. Our flagship sport will be included in the Pan American Games in October as well.
While the Mediterranean Beach Games provides opportunities for athletes from Africa and Europe to enjoy the very accessible sport of Triathle on the beach, Modern Pentathlon in the Asian Games is both traditional and contemporary, with young National Federations such as India, Thailand and Indonesia – among others – participating in the latest edition in Hangzhou.
In between the Asian Games, we had a lot of communication with multiple Asian NFs and National Olympic Committees, some with and some without Pentathlon embedded, and their first reaction did not surprise us. They expressed a feeling that finally they can become more involved in Modern Pentathlon thanks to the innovation of the integrated Obstacle discipline.
Meanwhile, all of them expressed the sentiment that they treasure the history and identification of Modern Pentathlon with Riding, but they really hope their athletes can have sustainable ambitions of competing in the Olympic Games and other multi-sport Games with the transformed five-discipline sport.
The Obstacle discipline certainly opened the door for a lot of non-Pentathlon countries to not only become future UIPM NFs, but also to be able to recruit and eventually send athletes to more events. Although in reality there might be still some difficulties and it will take time for our sport to be developed and improved in their countries, at least the transition gives them hope of possibilities and opportunities.
So what has been recognised during the recent integration of Obstacle in Modern Pentathlon competitions? Clearly, there is a need for:
- more training guidelines for coaches and athletes
- more training and education for judges
- more guidance and discussions to enable NFs to find solutions to integrate Obstacle for individual athletes
- more TV production experience of head-to-head racing for the future, to be ready for senior events from 2025 on.
Once again, we are expecting a positive outcome from the IOC Session in Mumbai in October to confirm our inclusion in Los Angeles 2028, and regardless of the result, the journey of a new Pentathlon has started and will continue to inspire youth generations together for decades to come…