Modern Pentathlon survived yesterday’s International Olympic Committee vote on the sports to play a part in the 2020 Games. The one that has to fight for its place alongside seven other prospective sports is wrestling.
The amateur sport which features in the Olympic Games and has done since the 8th century has been overtaken by the brash professional version in recent years.
There are around a dozen clubs in operation around the country and Ireland does have an Olympic heritage sending Gerry Mortina to the 1956 and 1960 Games where he came fourth as well as a number of other competitors down the years.
The sport is presently strongest in the US where it has a strong college base and there will be a likely surge to retain its position when that choice is made in Argentina in the autumn.
Among the sports battling to replace it is Squash. The sport made an important choice yesterday in creating parity of prize money between the men’s and women’s events at the US Open this year.
Equality is important within the Olympic movement with new sports only chosen if they offer equal access to both sexes. The greater reach of Sevens Rugby among women was a determining factor in that variant of the sport being chosen to make its Olympic bow at Rio in three years time.
The other sports up for inclusion are Karate, Kung Fu, Wakeboarding, Roller Sports, Speed Climbing and Softball.
There was a strong positive reaction to the decision to maintain modern pentathlon with sporting names from Olympics past applauding the news including Matthew Pinsent who referred to it on twitter as “a fabulous sport.”
Irish competitors like Natalya Coyle, Eanna Bailey, Arthur Lanigan O’Keefe and Conor Hillick will arrive for their next training sessions with an extra spring in their step.