By Duncan Mackay in Singapore
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

August 23 - Modern pentathlon is set to undergo another radical change in its format for the London 2012 Olympics after a successful trial of laser guns instead of air pistols at the inaugural Summer Youth Olympic Games here.

The introduction of the new technology will reduce the cost of shooting by two thirds in the sport and the improved safety of the event could mean new venues are used, claimed Klaus Schormann, Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) President.

"We will have laser shooting for the London Games," he said.

"Based on this new technology, all countries in the world can compete in our sport.

"We can hold competitions in parks and even shopping malls.

"Safety issues will no longer be a big concern.

"We spoke to a few of the female athletes after their competition [on Saturday] and not one of them had a bad thing to say about the guns."

It marks the second major change made to the sport since the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The sport had already combined its two final events - running and shooting - into a single run/shoot finale.

It is all part of the UIPM's strategy to try to ensure the sport's future in the Olympics after it was nearly voted off the programme for London 2012.

Cuba's Leydi Laura Moya Lopez, winner of the girls gold medal here, is among those who are enthusiastic about the latest change.

She said: "It's already easier in a way because it's lighter."

The new laser system has received royal approval with Prince Albert of Monaco, also honorary president of UIPM, pointing out the practical benefits of the change.

"I think the laser shooting is a great improvement to the sport," he said.

"They [the laser guns] will also be easier to carry around, and to take on aeroplanes.

"It's the way of the future."

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