By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

Modern pentathlon laser gunNovember 7 - A controversial plan to replace air pistols with laser guns in the modern pentathlon at the London 2012 Olympics has been dropped.

The International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) voted against the proposal which would have cut costs and allowed events to be staged at more venues as it would have been safer.

Pentathlon GB chairman Anthony Temple welcomed the rule clarification, which was taken at the UIPM Congress in Riga.

"This tells athletes and organisers what they need to know and will allow us all to work together to deliver a successful competition," Temple said.

The decision is a surprise as·Klaus Schormann, President of the UIPM, had said in August that it would be introduced for London 2012 after it was successfully tried out at the Summer Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, where it was praised by athletes.

It would also have reduced the cost of staging shooting at major modern pentathlon events by two-thirds, Schormann had claimed.

The Congress instead decided to introduce the laser guns in UIPM Junior, Youth A and Youth B competitions from 2011.

"With the decision for the laser shooting technology we can now develop the sport in all youth and junior competitions worldwide with the new laser technology," said Schormann.

Changing to laser guns would have been the second major change to the sport since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Two of the final events, running and shooting, have been merged to create a combined run-shoot finale.The three other events that make up the sport are swimming, fencing and showjumping.

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