5 Disciplines = 1 Sport = 1 Exciting Day

Modern Pentathlon comprises the five disciplines of fencing, swimming, show jumping, shooting and running. Previously held over five days, all five disciplines are now held on the one day, and the shooting and running have been combined and contested as the laser run, to ensure an exciting climax to each competition. Modern Pentathlon tests an athletes’ fitness, courage and skill. Competitors even show jump on a horse they have never met before!

Pentathlon was a premier event in the ancient Olympic Games and has been a core sport of the modern Olympic Games since 1912.

As well as Modern Pentathlon there are other exciting UIPM sports which give athletes additional opportunities for competition and for athletes of all abilities to build-up to a full Modern Pentathlon.








Fencing in Pentathlon


Fencing is a series of one-touch bouts with epée swords. The fencing event of Modern Pentathlon is a round-robin tournament, with a single touch deciding each match. Plus a bonus point ranking round at major championships.

Each competitor has a bout against every other competitor. Bouts last for one minute, the winner being the first fencer to score a hit. If neither scores a hit, both competitors register a defeat, a double hit doesn’t count.

Point penalties are awarded for a variety of infringements including

The fencing competition is held on pistes, measuring 14m long and between 1.5m and 2m wide, in an indoor arena.

Swimming in Tetrathlon


The swimming event is a freestyle race over 200m with athletes seeded in heats according to their personal best time.

Penalties are also incurred for

riding in Tetrathlon

Equestrian - Show Jumping

The riding event (equestrian show jumping) included in the Modern Pentathlon competition involves jumping over obstacles of up to 120cm in height. The obstacle course is

Athletes compete on horses provided by the organisers, which are selected from a random draw.

For warm-up and preparation purposes, athletes are allowed to ride their allocated horse for 20 minutes and to have up to 5 trial jumps in the warm-up arena provided.

Pentathletes are given 20 minutes to inspect the course at any time during the competition programme according to the organiser’s schedule. The athlete has a specific time limit in which to complete the course, and the time limit is set according to its length. A clear round in time allowed (varies between 1 minute and 1.17 minutes) gives the rider 300 pentathlon points but mistakes will lose the rider points. For example knock-downs, refusals to jump will incur a penalty.

Riders must jump the obstacles in order. Riders must wear protective head-gear and a riding jacket and can use a whip and spurs: Horses hoods and blinkers are prohibited.

Running in Pentathlon

Laser Run - Running and Shooting

In 2008, the competition format of the Modern Pentathlon changed to combine the shooting and running disciplines. This is now known as the “Laser Run” and is the final event of the day's competition. In the individual competition, athletes start with a handicap start, approx. 25m run, to a shooting range where they are required to hit 5 targets or wait 50seconds before beginning an 800m run. This is repeated 3 further times for a total of 20 targets and 3200m run. 500 Pentathlon points are awarded for a time of 13:20 minutes. Each second faster or slower than the prescribed time is worth +/-1 point.


Within the Laser Run the shooting takes place with a completely safe and environmentally friendly laser pistol, fired at a target from a distance of 10 metres and 59.5mm diameter. The Shooting competition is in 4 series; each series consists of hitting 5 bullseyes with an unlimited number of shots. After either hitting 5 bullseyes or 50seconds, the pentathlete can start from the shooting station to perform the first running leg of 800m.

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