The UIPM's 5th Discipline Working Group has selected the obstacle discipline for testing as a potential replacement for riding ©UIPM

World Obstacle President Ian Adamson has welcomed the International Modern Pentathlon Union's (UIPM) decision to select obstacle racing for testing as part of its efforts to retain its Olympic status.

Adamson has claimed that World Obstacle is "thrilled to be collaborating" with the UIPM over securing a fifth discipline to replace riding as modern pentathlon looks to feature at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Modern pentathlon's long-standing place as an Olympic sport is in jeopardy after it was left off the list for the initial programme for the Games in six years' time.

The UIPM has been warned by International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach that the proposal for riding's replacement and the overall competition format must be finalised before the sport can be considered for Los Angeles 2028 inclusion.

It was announced on Monday (May 2) that the UIPM's Executive Board had selected two variations of the obstacle discipline for testing.

World Obstacle claimed that the UIPM's Fifth Discipline Working Group made the decision following a presentation by Adamson.

Founded in 2014, World Obstacle oversees disciplines including ninja, obstacle course racing and adventure racing and was granted observer status by the Global Association of International Sports Federations last year.

"We are thrilled to be collaborating with UIPM on the new fifth discipline," a statement from Adamson read.

"Obstacles have a long history in pentathlon, including the modern and ancient Olympic Games, and introducing obstacle disciplines that are watched and practiced by hundreds of millions of people in over 140 countries presents many opportunities for athletes, spectators and the global sports audience."

World Obstacle said it would "solicit input from obstacle athletes and stakeholders" to ensure the format "satisfies expectations of obstacle sports and pentathlon communities worldwide".

The obstacle discipline is set to be tested alongside fencing, swimming and the laser run, following the 2022 Pentathlon World Cup Final in Ankara in June.

An obstacle discipline could replace riding as modern pentathlon's fifth sport ©Getty Images
An obstacle discipline could replace riding as modern pentathlon's fifth sport ©Getty Images

A second format is then due to be tested in the following months, with a location expected to be announced before the end of this month.

After testing, a final decision is set to be taken by the UIPM Congress.

Reducing cost and complicity, universal participation and good accessibility around the world, popularity among all age groups and sustainability for organisers worldwide were cited by the UIPM as the reason for testing of the obstacle discipline.

The UIPM also claimed that selecting a sport which examines the complete athlete was a factor in the decision.

Critics including Pentathlon United have criticised the process to replace riding, accusing the UIPM of a lack of transparency and failing "to acknowledge the athletes' voices".

The UIPM said its Fifth Discipline Working Group followed criteria including considering athletes views, medical aspects such as workload, injuries and anti-doping, TV, media and marketing opportunities in its decision to test the obstacle discipline.

The riding element was dropped from the sport shortly after German coach Kim Raisner was sent home in disgrace for punching a horse during the women's competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

It was announced last month that 61 proposals to replace riding had been put forward to the UIPM.

A new 90-minute model has been used at UIPM World Cups this season and is set to feature at the Paris 2024 Olympics, although it has drawn a mixed reaction, notably over the exclusion of riding until the finals.

Modern pentathlon has featured on the Olympic programme since its introduction at Stockholm in 1912.