(ATR) It’s one of the oldest Olympic sports, and while history and tradition is important to modern pentathlon, administrators are focusing on making changes to ensure a long and successful future for the sport.
Women’s modern pentathlon podium finishers Elodie Clouvel of France (left), Chloe Esposito of Australia and Oktawia Nowacka of Poland (ATR)
To ensure Olympic inclusion the International Federation for Modern Pentathlon (UIPM) has undertaken a journey to reinvent the sport, making it more appealing to spectators and broadcasters along the way.
“We are really happy with how the competition in Rio has gone,” UIPM Secretary General Shiny Fang said at a function held at the Olympians Reunion Centre.
“We know we still have work to do but we are adapting and making sure we are staying relevant and exciting.”
In London, the run/shoot combined event was introduced bringing a more dynamic ending to the five-sport event and also helping compress the time taken to run it.
Originally set over five days of competition, pentathlon has over time become a more compact event and by Tokyo 2020, it will be run across one six-hour period.
“We think this will be a great improvement for fans but we know that it still a long time for broadcasters, so that is something we are working on, to see how we can make it better for them,” Fang said.
Shiny Fang, UIPM secretary general (UIPM)
Another key element that will transform the sport in 2020 will be the fact it will all be contested in one stadium, set to vastly improve the spectator experience.
The reinvention of the sport is not happening overnight, but a process that started about 10 years ago and is ongoing.
“We started this process to see how we could change the presentation of the sport, without changing the rules,” Fang said.
“We still have a long way to be more relevant with the youth, however what we have achieved so far has made it more spectator friendly. We want to have more participation and more people enjoying the sport so that is also the foundation of what we are doing.”
One of the biggest challenges facing the UIPM is how to make these changes while maintaining the integrity of a sport steeped in tradition.
With a conservative administration, making changes can be a long process but Fang said that at the end of the day, they are all headed in the same direction.
“The sport’s leaders have a vision, and now we just need to deliver this vision to all levels of the modern pentathlon family.”
Written by Alice Wheeler in Rio de Janeiro
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