November 11 - Jan Bartu, Performance Director for Pentathlon GB, has called for urgent clarification following the announcement by the international governing body that laser shooting would be used in the London 2012 Olympics - a reverse of an earlier announcement from the UIPM (Union International de Pentathlon Moderne) Congress.
The vote in Congress failed to provide the two-thirds majority required for rule changes.
But the UIPM responded today by pointing out that a rule established at last year's Congress already allowed laser shooting to be introduced in place of the traditional air pistols.
"I don't really know what happens next," Bartu told insidethegames.
"For us, working in the sport, setting the programmes and trying to get our athletes to the Olympic Games, a cllear interpretation is needed as soon as possible.
"I attended the Congress in Riga, and obviously the decision-making process hasn't been easy.
"It really is confusing.
"I think at this point we need to be absolutely clear what the UIPM intends to do because, as far as I am concerned, the vote of the Congress did not allow laser to be used in the Olympic Games of 2012.
"Twenty four voted to include it, 15 were against, and there was one abstention in a secret ballot, so there was not the two-thirds majority needed for the UIPM to change the rule.
"But now it emerges that, at last year's Congress in Copenhagen, Rule B.5.21 was passed that laser can be used in UIPM competition.
"The question that remains is why the Congress has spent almost two days discussing whether laser can be introduced or not.
"As I understand it, the vote indicated that Congress wanted to take things step by step, and that testing had not been conclusive, so the introduction was to be postponed beyond the 2012 Olympics."
Bartu added that he saw many advantages in the new technology.
"My personal view is that laser technology definitely has a future. It has been used recently in the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, and widely accepted by the IOC (International Olympic Committee), which is fantastic.
"At the same time we need to have confidence in it at Olympic level, where it has to be 100 per cent reliable and to provide 100 per cent feedback to the audience, the scoring system and the shooters themselves.
"If that confidence can be established, the technology has another big advantage, because it is completely safe for humans, which means it can be used in schools and on introductory sessions, and it will allow the sport to get into new places.
"It is a complex issue, and the national federations and the UIPM have to have open debate to reach a satisfactory conclusion."
The UIPM statement read: "During the 2010 UIPM Congress in Riga Latvia, held on 6 November 2010 a motion linked to a rules change in order providing for an obligatory use of laser shooting at all Olympic Qualification Competitions and the 2012 London Olympic Games did not obtain the 2/3 majority needed by the Member Federations for approval.
"However, based on UIPM rule 'B.5.21 (i) the combined event may take place using the laser system', UIPM can still organise all Olympic Qualification and UIPM competitions using Laser Shooting technology and feels supported to do so by nearly two third of the member federations present at the recent UIPM Congress.
"With regards to the London 2012 Olympic Games, UIPM rule 1.2.3 reads: 'The rules for category "A" competitions apply also to Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games, as far as they do not conflict with the Olympic Games Qualification Rules that are negotiated by the UIPM EB with the IOC Executive Committee after each the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games for the following Olympiad.'
"This negotiation has started well before the Congress and took into account the UIPM rules as they are together, with the experience from the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore where the laser technology was used with success, as stated by the IOC, and it will therefore be used in London 2012 according to the plan which has been agreed with LOCOG.
"The future Competition Organising Committees present at the Congress stated that they will organise their competitions using the Laser Shooting technology. Therefore there will be a negotiation one by one between the UIPM EB and all Organising Committees.
"At the Congress, the Member Federations supported the Laser Shooting technology as the future of Modern Pentathlon, therefore a motion for all UIPM Youth and Junior Competitions to be organised obligatory with Laser Shooting from 2011 was easily passed."
Two years ago the UIPM altered the format of the event to combine the two final disciplines of shooting and running.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
November 2010: Modern pentathlon drops laser gun plan for London 2012
August 2010: Laser guns to be used in modern pentathlon at London 2012
September 2009: Mike Rowbottom - Modern Pentathlon has shot itself in the foot with rule change
August 2009: Changes will make Modern Pentathlon better claims President