Germany is calling for urgent changes to modern pentathlon after a chaotic equestrian event at Olympics
- Germany's Olympic boss is leading calls for changes to modern pentathlon after chaotic scenes at Tokyo 2020.
- A German rider lost a shot at gold after being drawn with an uncooperative horse, while others also struggled.
- Alfons Hoermann, the German Olympic Committee president, said that an "urgent review" into the rules is needed.
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The head of Germany's Olympic committee is calling for urgent changes to the modern pentathlon following chaotic scenes during the women's event at the Tokyo Olympics.
German athlete Annika Schleu, who was in contention for a medal, plummeted down the table when her horse, Saint Boy, refused to jump over the fences.
Prior to entering the arena, the horse had been struck by coach Kim Raisner, who was subsequently kicked out of the Olympics entirely.
The incident was met with widespread condemnation and the coach was not allowed to play any further part in her country's games.
As Schleu struggled to get the horse to cooperate, she burst into tears. Schleu ended up finishing 31st in the event. She was one of several riders to struggle to control her horse during the event.
Both the performances of Schleu and her counterparts, and the incident involving Raisner, have led for calls to make serious changes to the rules of the modern pentathlon.
Current rules dictate that riders are randomly assigned a horse shortly before the event begins. This means the riders don't have much time to bond with the horses, something that has been blamed for the scenes witnessed on Friday.
The president of Germany's Olympic Committee, Alfons Hoermann, said after Schleu's problems that there needs to be an "urgent overhaul."
"The numerous occasions at the competition yesterday (Friday) from literally the first to the last rider are, we believe, unacceptable.
"They endanger animal welfare and therefore damage the reputation of the sport and the sportsmen and women" he said at a press conference as reported by The Guardian.
Hoermann's calls were echoed by Germany's two-time Olympic gold medalist Ingrid Klimke who said the rules needed to be "urgently reconsidered."
Equestrian magazine Horse and Hound reported that the back-to-back team eventing gold winner said: "??For me, trust and harmony are a fundamental part of every way of dealing with the horse.
"The regulations of the modern pentathlon expect horse and rider to get to know each other so well in 20 minutes that they can complete a jumping course together.
"In my opinion, that is not possible, at least not in a competitive situation like the Olympic Games."
While some are calling for an overhaul of the rules, the boss of world pentathlon on Friday defended the horses involved, and hit back at criticisms of the event.
"I must say to those who do not know our sport so well, the presentation of the facility and the horses were of a high quality," Schormann said, per the Irish Examiner.
"Maybe there were a few moments that you would say were not so nice, but I tell you - the horses are absolutely excellent."
Schormann went on to say that any issues were the fault of the athletes involved, not the horses.
"We tested them and they were well prepared, and there is no basis for athletes to complain. It is only because of the athletes themselves if they were not successful in some parts of the competition," he added.
The Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne, however, said in a statement Sunday that it will "conduct a full review of the Riding discipline of the Women's Modern Pentathlon at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games."
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