Modern pentathlon loses Olympic battle–but not for want of a horse

PHOTO CAPTION: Modern pentathlon had its moment of glory in the last Southeast Asian Games via the likes of Samuel German (left) and Princess Arbilon. The sport, however, has lost its Olympic battle after the International Olympic Committee announced it will no longer be in the schedule of the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, USA, along with long-timers boxing and weightlifting./iNews (N. Glenn Aragon/Photo courtesy of Grig Montegrande/Inquirer Sports)

(June Navarro/Inquirer Sports)

Boxing and weightlifting were struck off the Olympic calendar for various administrative shortcomings of their international federations.

Modern pentathlon (MP) lost its Olympic berth by a horse.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has given the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM), the governing body of the sport, orders to finalize a proposal to replace the showjumping section of its sport by 2023 so it can battle for its reinstatement to the Summer Games.

“In our last congress, there was a move to scrap the showjumping portion of the sport and to replace it with another discipline. A lot of nations are anticipating a cycling event as a replacement but up to now there is no word from our IF (international federation) about it,’” said Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez, who heads the local pentathlon federation, the Philippine Modern Pentathlon Association, in an interview last Tuesday.

Modern pentathlon made its debut in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games when the Philippines staged the Olympic sport during the country’s 2019 hosting of the regional sports fest.

Filipino pentathletes did pretty well in the previous SEA Games held in Subic, claiming two gold medals through the heroics of Michael Ver Anton Comaling (men’s beach triathlete) and the mixed beach laser relay tandem of Princess Honey Arbilon and Samuel German.

Modern pentathlon is made up of five different events—fencing, swimming, showjumping (equestrian), pistol shooting and cross-country running, which is also referred to as laser run.

Showjumping and fencing were not included in the SEA Games hosting of the sport two years ago.

“The show jumping portion is very difficult to manage and not all nations are able to host a full MP due to limited availability of horses like us,’” said Gomez, a veteran actor and former bemedaled athlete who likewise heads the Philippine Fencing Association.

The IOC recently announced that Olympic long-timers boxing, weightlifting and modern pentathlon are no longer in the lineup for the 2028 Los Angeles Games, giving their spots to skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing in the Olympic program.

“We are hoping that once we are able to come up with a new discipline, the MP event will be reconsidered back to the Olympics in LA28,” said Gomez, the 2nd vice president of the Philippine Olympic Committee. “We are hoping against hope.”

Weightlifting has also been given until 2023 to reform its system to merit inclusion in the Games.

Weightlifting is being hounded by issues on governance, ethics, finance and doping, putting the International Weightlifting Federation under the microscope of the IOC. The International Boxing Association (Aiba), the supreme body in the sport, has been charged with the unabated manipulation of bouts at several major boxing events, including the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. (June Navarro/Inquirer Sports)

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