Zielona Góra is set to host the final obstacle test event before this year's UIPM Congress ©UIPM

The International Modern Pentathlon Union's (UIPM) fourth test event for the obstacle discipline is set to take place alongside the Junior World Championships in the Polish city of Zielona Góra in October.

This is set to be the final test event of the year for obstacle before a vote at the online UIPM Congress on the modern pentathlon format to be submitted to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for Los Angeles 2028, where the sport's place on the programme remains in jeopardy.

The test event is due to be staged by the UIPM and Polish Modern Pentathlon Association alongside the Junior World Championships at the WOSiR Drzonkow Sports Complex on October 7 and 8.

It is primarily aimed at under-21 athletes, although senior athletes have also been encouraged to attend.

It follows on from the first two test events in Ankara following the Pentathlon World Cup Final in June and in Manilla earlier this month, with a third planned in Lignano Sabbiadoro on September 9 and 10 alongside the Youth World Championships.

Obstacle has been proposed as a replacement for riding as modern pentathlon's fifth discipline, although the decision to axe the equestrian element of the sport remains a source of controversy.

Riding was dropped from modern pentathlon in November following the scandal at Tokyo 2020 which led to German coach Kim Raisner being sent home in disgrace for punching the horse Saint Boy.

However, this sparked anger among many athletes, with British Olympic champions Kate French and Joe Choong among those who have spoken out against the decision.

The pressure group Pentathlon United was formed in the wake of the revelations that riding would be dropped, and has expressed a lack of confidence in the UIPM leadership while offering a plan to keep and reform the equestrian element.

Despite its opposition, the UIPM is veering closer towards selecting obstacle racing as the sport's fifth discipline.

Riding is set to be dropped by the UIPM after Paris 2024, following the controversy involving the horse Saint Boy at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images
Riding is set to be dropped by the UIPM after Paris 2024, following the controversy involving the horse Saint Boy at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

Results have been released from a survey after the second test event in Manila.

This featured 27 pentathletes, of whom 22 answered a UIPM survey, as well as 43 obstacle athletes and eight observers, consisting of coaches and officials.

Of those surveyed, 90 per cent of pentathletes and 85 per cent of observers were reported by the UIPM to be "very satisfied" with the overall test event experience.

The survey results included 95 per cent of pentathletes being "very satisfied" with the enjoyment of the competition and "the attractiveness of obstacle design to global audiences and youth".

One third of obstacle athletes said they were "extremely likely" to consider starting to practise modern pentathlon's other disciplines.

UIPM President Klaus Schormann, who has led the governing body since 1993 and chaired the Working Group established to oversee the process of selecting a new fifth discipline, insisted that the obstacle discipline would enhance the sport.

"After the success of the first two test events in Ankara and Manila, I am delighted that participants in the UIPM 2022 Junior World Championships will have an opportunity to try obstacle discipline in Zielona Góra on October 7 to 8," the German official said.

"We are also looking forward next week to the third test event in Italy, where an even younger group of athletes will experience a racing concept that promises to transform modern pentathlon into one of the most popular, dynamic and accessible sports in the Olympic Games.

"The feedback from those who took part in the first two test events underlines that we are on the right track with this testing process, providing a new sporting challenge that excites and inspires youth."

However, Pentathlon United has queried the results of the UIPM's survey from the second test event, claiming that National Federations and athletes "didn't want to go" and only eight nations as well as hosts the Philippines were represented.

It has also pointed to its survey which suggests that 92 per cent of athletes are in favour of retaining riding.

Riding is set to feature at the Paris 2024 Olympics before being dropped thereafter.

Modern pentathlon, along with boxing and weightlifting, was left off the initial programme for Los Angeles 2028, although the IOC has said that there is a "pathway" for all three sports to be added.

The UIPM leadership discussed proposed changes to the sport with IOC President Thomas Bach in Lausanne in June.