A statement on horse welfare and athlete safety in Modern Pentathlon

A statement on horse welfare and athlete safety in Modern Pentathlon

12 August 2021

Pentathlon Ireland welcomes the commitment from the International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) that the riding element of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women’s competition will be reviewed and recommendations made to ensure there is no repeat of the distressing events of 6th August.

We acknowledge the concerns raised following these events. We wish to assure our membership and the general public that we will work with UIPM and other National Federations to ensure that both horse and athlete welfare will be at the forefront of the international competition circuit, just as they are here in Ireland in all Modern Pentathlon events that we organise.

As the Irish governing body, Pentathlon Ireland is also pleased to learn from UIPM that enhanced training and education will be offered to athletes, coaches and judges – as well as adjustments to the UIPM Code of Ethics – so that horse welfare can be stitched more deeply into the fabric of the sport.

Pentathlon Ireland, through its policies and operational structures, is committed not only to the protection of horses under its jurisdiction but to the safety and welfare of athletes competing at all age groups and levels.

The riding phase is a cornerstone of Irish Modern Pentathlon, with almost all our pentathletes taking up the sport via Pony Clubs where they get an excellent grounding in horsemanship. Pentathlon Ireland only allow athletes to compete in the riding phase of international competitions once they have been certified as suitably skilled to do so by a Horse Sport Ireland Level 2 instructor.

While we acknowledge the work to be done with the riding discipline, we believe that it must remain as a key component of this uniquely challenging sport and a showcase feature of the Summer Olympic Games.

Pentathlon Ireland has always prided itself on facilitating a safe and friendly environment in which to learn and practise the sport of Modern Pentathlon and we will continue to do so.