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The head of the global authority for the modern pentathlon has hit back at criticism of the horses involved in the women’s competition at the Tokyo Olympics, blaming for poor performances on the athletes.
To ensure fairness during the modern pentathlon, competitors aren’t allowed to bring their own horses — they must ride a horse randomly assigned to them 20 minutes before they compete.
This means that riders are unfamiliar with their mounts, creating a sterner test. For many on Friday, however, that test proved too stern.
Six riders finished the horse riding portion of the five-discipline event with zero points after struggling with uncooperative horses. Several riders were thrown from their horses, others struggled to make their horses jump, and one athlete was even reduced to tears on her horse.
This led to criticism of the selection of the horses, with one former Olympic pentathlete describing it as “not good enough.”
However, Dr. Klaus Schormann, the president of the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM), disagreed, saying there was nothing wrong with the selection of horses.
“I must say to those who do not know our sport so well, the presentation of the facility and the horses were of a high quality,” Schormann said, per the Irish Examiner.
“Maybe there were a few moments that you would say were not so nice, but I tell you — the horses are absolutely excellent.”
Schormann went on to blame for poor performances on the athletes themselves.
“We tested them and they were well prepared, and there is no basis for athletes to complain. It is only because of the athletes themselves if they were not successful in some parts of the competition.”
“Nobody from the organizing committee should be blamed. Everything was genius, was super, and I’m very happy with Secretary General Shiny Fang in what we have achieved together with the organizing committee.”