Modern pentathlon's new fencing format - the fencing bonus round - will be established next season after earning the approval of a huge majority of delegates at the sport's Congress in Sofia.
The bonus round, which will take place after the fencing round robin stage, is the latest in a series of innovations by the sport's international governing body, the International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM), designed to enhance the spectacle of 21st-century modern pentathlon.
The new concept, which ensures that all competing pentathletes confront each other once more on the fencing piste after the traditional round robin, was vigorously tested this year at numerous events, including the World Cup Final in Sarasota, United States, and the World Championships in Warsaw.
The format was extremely well received and offers all athletes the chance to win bonus points to top up their score, while focusing the action on a single piste, creating a more exciting experience for athletes, spectators and broadcasters.
"Again UIPM takes an important step forward for our sport and for the Olympic movement with the approval of this fencing bonus round," said Dr Klaus Schormann, President of the UIPM, at the end of the Congress.
Modern Pentathlon, adopted from disciplines present in the Ancient Games and introduced to the Modern Olympics in 1912, has revolutionised itself within the last five years, combining the run/shoot disciplines and then changing to laser shooting in time for the London 2012 Olympics.
It was one of three sports - alongside wrestling and taekwondo - thought to be at risk of being dropped from the Olympic programme early in 2013, although in the end it was wrestling which was excluded, only to be re-admitted later that year.
The energetic and vocal Schormann lobbied hard to protect his sport's Olympic status.
"We have promised things and we have delivered," he said in 2013.
"That gives me a great feeling, it also gives me new energy to develop our sport further and never give up."
The bonus round was tabled and gained support at the first-ever joint-meeting of UIPM's Technical Committee and Coaches Committee in Warsaw on September 8.
The two Committees, after being briefed by Schormann and the UIPM secretary general Shiny Fang, decided on the rules of the proposed new round to be approved by the Executive Board at its meeting in Sofia last week, and finally ratified by UIPM Congress.
Other matters ratified at the Congress including the welcoming of five new National Federations into the UIPM from Burkina Faso, Gambia, Ghana. Pakistan and Thailand.
All five nations made clear progress in developing the sport this year under the watchful guidance of the African and Asian confederations respectively, it was explained.
UIPM medical and doping rules for 2015 - based on and complying with the World Anti-Doping Agency regulations - were approved, and an amendment to eligibility rules in accordance with updates to the International Olympic Committee Charter was approved.
The change will strengthen the independence of modern Ppentathlon's National Federations.
The 2017 World Championships will be held in Cairo, and the World Cup final in Lithuania.
UIPM partner, the International Military Sports Council (CISM), presented a development plan and outlined the organisation of the 2015 World Military Games, which will take place in South Korea, and future annual World Championships in Poland, Germany and China.
The Congress took place two days after the UIPM Executive Board meeting, which included a discussion about new development projects including possible new combinations of the formats that make up modern pentathlon and its non-Olympic sub-sports.
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