The UIPM has faced its latest blow in hopes of Olympic inclusion at Los Angeles 2028 ©Getty Images

Pentathlon United has accused the International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) of disregarding the sport's development in favour of political gain as the latest blow to the governing body's Olympic ambitions.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) sport director Kit McConnell updated International Federations of the Programme Commission's process of finalising included disciplines for the 28 sports at Los Angeles 2028.

At the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) annual meeting, Pentathlon United claim it was mentioned that the Commission had not yet recommended the inclusion of modern pentathlon.

However, disciplines are set to be confirmed later this month before modern pentathlon's fate is decided in October.

The sport sits in the same category as embattled boxing and weightlifting in that it will not receive special treatment as long-time Olympic sports and is being assessed for inclusion alongside new sports.

It's final hope to appear at the 2028 Games will come at the IOC Executive Board meeting in Mumbai, which is scheduled for October 12 and 13 this year prior to the Session.

It is up against the likes of baseball and softball, which is a logical choice for many due to the sports' American roots, and cricket which is seen as favourable to the IOC as it could unlock huge potential in Asia.

"The UIPM reached out to us to meet because they are desperate about their situation," three-time Olympian Alex Watson, who is a member of Pentathlon United which is campaigning to preserve the sport's equestrian element, told insidethegames.

Modern pentathlon has still not been recommended for inclusion at Los Angeles 2028 by the Olympic Programme Commission ©ITG
Modern pentathlon has still not been recommended for inclusion at Los Angeles 2028 by the Olympic Programme Commission ©ITG

"They have obviously been told that the divisions within the sport, the fact that the athletes don't back what they've done, needs to be resolved. 

"So they reached out to us and we were supposed to be going for talks with them in Ankara at the World Cup Final, which is on at the moment.

"On the cusp of Kate [Allenby] and I preparing to go there under agreed terms that we would be self-funded, we weren't accepting any entitlements from the UIPM they then reneged on the offer to talk.

"It just shows how chaotic and shambolic the leadership is.

"They have out all of their eggs in one basket with this obstacle racing solution which, like all really bad plans, has been based upon a whole plan of deception."

Watson and Sydney 2000 bronze medallist Allenby claim that the plan to replace riding with obstacle has been in the works for years as the UIPM's bid document for Los Angeles 2028, written up in 2017, had modern pentathlon in a downtown venue instead of an existing equestrian arena.

"The UIPM's model of sport's management has been about politics, it's been about appearing to the IOC that they have added all these National Federations," Watson said.

Pentathlon United feels their is still time to salvage modern pentathlon's place at the Olympic Games but it will require new leadership ©UIPM
Pentathlon United feels their is still time to salvage modern pentathlon's place at the Olympic Games but it will require new leadership ©UIPM

"When you look at the majority of those Federations they are all what we call ghost federations. 

"They have someone who as a representative who is paid to come to Congress and get some 'development money' and they have no active athletes.

"A huge number of Federations who attended Congress and voted have not run any modern pentathlon events and have no athletes registered in the sport and they have got the same vote as Britain, Hungary, and Australia.

"The UIPM's failure in leadership is that for the last 20 years they have been totally focused on the political agenda and not sports development."

Pentathlon United fears that if current UIPM President Klaus Schormann is re-elected beyond Paris 2024, which could be the last time riding features, it would be catastrophic.

However, the Games in France also represent an opportunity to reset with new leadership in Allenby's eyes due to a multi-million dollar financial boost in the name of post-Olympic funding.

"That's time for a new leadership to get into the sport, renegotiate with the IOC, redevelop the sport and restore the sport to how it should be in a way that's modern and in line with the sport that de Coubertin dreamt up."

The UIPM insisted that the ASOIF General Assembly spelt good news for modern pentathlon as it moved up from category five to category four for the distribution of Olympic Games profits.

It claims this is partly due to the integration of obstacle which is hoped to secure the sport's place in the Games.

"UIPM continues to work closely with the IOC Sport Department to provide information supporting the decision-making process and ultimately to satisfy the IOC Programme Commission and Executive Board that the new Modern Pentathlon meets the criteria set out for inclusion in LA28," read a UIPM statement to insidethegames.

"UIPM remains highly confident in the outcome of the 140th IOC Session in Mumbai in October 2023 and continues to work tirelessly to preserve Modern Pentathlon’s Olympic status."