World pentathlon authorities launching 'full review' after traumatic showjumping event at Olympics
- Modern pentathlon authorities will launch a full review into the women's equestrian event at the Tokyo Olympics.
- A tumultuous equestrian event saw several horses refuse to jump, as well as a rider in tears.
- A German coach was also thrown out after being seen to punch an uncooperative horse.
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The Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) said it regrets the "trauma" suffered by a disobedient horse which was punched by a coach at the Tokyo Olympics, and has vowed to launch a review into the equestrian event at the games.
The horse, Saint Boy, was struck by German coach Kim Raisner just prior to its refusal to jump during Annika Schleu's run. Raisner was later kicked out of the Olympics.
UIPM said the event caused "distress both inside and outside the global UIPM Sports community."
"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.
After the incident, and chaotic scenes which saw several horses fail to comply with their riders wishes, the governing body - which oversees modern pentathlon across the world - has vowed to conduct a "full review" into what happened.
"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.
"Although no athlete or horse was physically injured on August 6, the best possible safeguards must be in place to minimise risk in future."
The UIPM's statement went on acknowledge that more riders fell and saw their horses refuse to take jumps than is usual in a pentathlon showjumping event during the women's edition at the Tokyo Olympics.
"Riding is an integral part of the modern pentathlon. The ability to control a horse in a competitive situation is part of the pentathlon toolkit. The Olympic champion must prove they can swim, fence, ride, shoot and run to a high level to earn the coveted gold medal.
"While the number of refusals and falls on August 6 was slightly above average, the Olympic Games is designed as the most challenging of all competitions.
"That said, UIPM has a duty of care to all participants in the competitions it oversees; this includes the Olympic Games and it includes horses." it said in a statement.
Many of the issues on Friday have been blamed on the current pentathlon rules, which dictate that riders are randomly assigned a horse just 20 minutes before the event, meaning they don't have much time to bond with the animals.
This practice has been condemned by some in the aftermath of the event, with the head of Germany's Olympic committee called for an urgent overhaul to the rules.
His comments were backed up by two-time gold medalist Ingrid Klimke who told the equestrian magazine Horse & Hound that the rules needed to be "urgently" reconsidered.
As well as the review, the UIPM said plans are already in place and alterations will be in force by the time of the next Olympics in Paris in three years.
"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 center 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."
It did not specify exactly what those plans are.
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