Based on the Pentathlon of the Ancient Greeks, Modern Pentathlon was first introduced as part of the 1912 Olympic Games, comprising of the following events:
Fencing / Swimming / Horse-Riding / Running / Pistol Shooting
Since the sport was established over a century ago, Modern Pentathlon has undergone many structural changes. The first 68 years of its existence saw Modern Pentathlon take place over five days, changing to a one-day event in 1996. The year 2000 was the first year in which women were able to participate in the sport, raising the number of overall participants from 32 to 48 (24 men & 24 women). It also saw an incredible surge in general popularity – at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, for the first time in history, 96% of the Pentathlon venues sold out!
Annual World Championships:
In conjunction with its Olympic connections, Modern Pentathlon also enjoys an annual World Championship, completed by a Team Relay Race for the following age groups:
Men / Women / Junior Men & Women / Youth A (non-inclusive of riding)
Any number from 96 participants can compete in Pentathlon World Championships.
Combined event – running/shooting:
As the final event of Modern Pentathlon, running and shooting are combined in the Laser Run. Participants are expected to run 3200m and shoot at 20 targets, beginning with a handicapped start, based on the results of the previous events. The Pentathletes with the most points after the preceding events start first. Once given their start signal, the athletes run to the range where they aim to hit five targets. Only after having hit five targets with an unlimited number of shots OR after a time of 50 seconds elapses, can the competitor leave the firing point to perform each running leg of 800m. This is repeated three more times before the athletes cross the finish line.
Keeping true to the progressive and flexible nature of the sport, the International Union of the Modern Pentathlon (UIPM) made a historic decision in 2009. Provided the technology would be available, Air Pistols would be replaced by much safer optical shooting. Following this major decision, Ecoaims developed its laser-only based system.
Major benefits for pentathletes:
The benefits of such a shift are numerous. Not only can optical shooting offer absolute safety within the sport, but it is also environmentally friendly. Furthermore, the accompanying computerised results system provides 100% accuracy and as indicated during the UIPM 1000 shot test of June 2010 – perfect for pentathletes in training.
The next generation:
The future of Modern Pentathlon lies with the next generation – the young Pentathletes and prospective Olympians. Therefore, it is imperative that Modern Pentathlon appeals to ‘the next generation’.
As stated above, optical shooting offers absolute safety, is environmentally friendly and showcases state-of-the-art technology – both in the gun itself and the accompanying results system. The laser-based system provides stunning visual effects that can be captured by cameras that are placed at angles that would have previously been deemed unsafe with an Air Pistol. This helps to boost the popularity of the sport further.