Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Published on 2014 Incheon Asian Games official blog on March 10, 2014: http://blog.incheon2014ag.com/modern-pentathlon/

Often regarded as an ultimate challenge and also known as a true representation of the Olympic movement, Modern Pentathlon  is a game consisting of five events: pistol shooting, epee fencing, 200 m freestyle swimming, horse jumping (show jumping) and a 3,200 m cross-country run.  The five events precisely conveys the spirits of the Olympics; the five Olympic rings are depicted in modern pentathlon.

|  Modern Pentathlon 

Seem strange and kind of mysterious; did you know that this modern pentathlon was initiated in 708BC during the 18th Ancient Greek Olympiad? In the early years, the five contested sports were running the length of the stadium, throwing a spear, throwing a discus and wrestling. No one would actually think the modern pentathlon was derived from the 19-century legend of a French cavalry administrator who went to great lengths and pulled through all the obstacles just to accomplish his task – to deliver a message. Intrigued by this incident? Here’s the enthralling narration:
Pierre de Coubertin
Image from Google: Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the Modern Pentathlon
“A soldier is ordered to deliver a message on horseback. When the horse went down, he was forced to defend himself with both a sword and pistol. He completed his mission by swimming across a river and running a long distance through the woods.”
Ultimately, it evolved into an Olympic sport played for over 100 years and now is featured in the Asian Games since 1994.

|  Five-Discipline Sport 

Some interesting facts regarding this five-discipline sport includes:
1. It is the sport that requires the most advanced-technology among the other games in both Olympics and Asian Games as the air pistol (with actual projectile) is replaced by laser shooting at electronic targets.
2. Laser shooting was introduced considering the safety and environmental issue.
Pistol Shooting
Image from Google: Pistol Shooting
3. Modern pentathletes do not compete on their own horses; they are given 20 minutes to ride or jump on a randomly chosen horse.
4. Originally a five-day event (used to be drawn out over anywhere from four to six days), this arduous and action-packed sport is now having a one-day format due to waning interest and the desire to make it more audience-friendly.
5. This esoteric sport is not part of track and field. It is radically distinctive that it has its own Olympic category.

|  Jargon:

1. Épée: A type of dueling sword, similar to a foil but heavier, with a larger guard and a much stiffer blade.
2. Handicap start: The event leader begins first and the other athletes start afterwards in competition order. The results of the previous 3 events determine the start times.
3. Round-robin: In the fencing category, all athletes play each other once with matches decided arbitrary.

|  Participating in Modern Pentathlon

Image from Google: Horse Jumping
Interested to get involved in modern pentathlon? Here are the basics that you can begin with: First, choose one event out of horse riding, fencing, swimming (200 m freestyle), shooting laser guns or running 3km. After that, take part in small combined events such as biathlon (run and swim), followed by triathlon (swim, run and shoot) or tetrathlon (fence, swim, run, shoot) to simply work your way up to all five!
The grueling combination of events that  challenge the physical endurance and the mental stamina continues to test Asian Games athletes to the limit. Stay tuned to the 2014 Incheon Asian Games and let’s witnesses the whole shebang of strange disconnected greatness!  Needless to say, it is a showcase of the most talented athletes!

The official 2014 Incheon Asian Games Writer ‘IAG-Crew’ ㅣKit Yee Thoong


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