Combined Event

Following the decision of the 2008 UIPM Congress in Guatemala on 22 November, the "combined event" will be the new competition format for modern pentathlon.

The "combined event" refers specifically to the shoot and run disciplines which will be competed consecutively following the fence, swim and ride discsiplines. Athletes will begin as per the handicap run system, with a short run to the shooting range, here they will have to make 5 targets down with unlimited number of shots in 70 seconds before a 1km run. They repeat this 2 further times, in total 15 targets (shots) and 3km run. This means that the modern pentathlon competition will begin with fencing, followed by swim and equestrian ride then the shoot/run finish.

The consectuive combination of the shoot/run does not mean that the modern pentathlon is reduced to four disciplines. All five disciplines are still equally represented and competed, however within four events. This is similar to Triathlon and Biathlon, both considered to have three and two sports respectively but competed continuously in one event. The main benefit to the combination is the reduced competition time for both athletes and spectators.

The combined event will be the new competition format for modern pentathlon from 1 January 2009.

The new competition rules are available for download here.

The presentation delivered by UIPM Sport Director, Mauro Tirinnanzi at the UIPM Congress 2008 can be downloaded here.


The concept of the combined event was first introduced during the 1987 UIPM Congress in Moulins (FRA). The idea came from Mr Willy Grut, Champion in London 1948, and former UIPM General Secretary. The Asian Confederation were the first to adopt the idea, having organised combined event competitions annually over the last ten years and the Asian Games have been organised with this format since 2002. At the 2006 Congress, UIPM nations were informed regarding the introduction of a test phase for the combined shoot/run.

In Europe, the combined event format started in 2007 and with it, the important steps to create applicable and valid combined event rules for the future. On 14 July 2007 at the European Youth A Championships in Vilnius, the first test of the combined event format took place. The test was positive, the athletes were happy and the spectators enjoyed the event but the format was with penalty laps and required a judge for each athlete and the penalty laps can create confusion. The second combined event test took place in Pretoria, on the occasion of the World Youth A Championships, 31 August 2007 and was organised without penalty laps. The athletes had unlimited numbers of shots to hit all the targets before starting each running leg. It was easy to organise, easy to follow and less judges were needed.

The 2007 UIPM Congress approved using the combined event format during 2008 at World Cups and World and Youth A Championships (Individual) and Continental Championships (Relay). In total, 416 athletes representing 39 nations from all 6 continents participated in the test events throughout 2008.


This “combined event” concept was primarily introduced to enhance and promote the shooting discipline, by combining it with running and having it later in the competition programme. Additional benefit of this is that the competition duration is reduced; the number of athletes can be increased; and there is potential for increased media interest due to the diversity of the finish.

Overall there will be a more exciting competition:

During the Combined Event (Run/Shoot) the final result can change at any moment.
The competition time is reduced without interfering with the athletes preparation.
The number of judges needed is reduced.
The last 3 events (Riding, Running, Shooting) will be concentrated in 1½ hours and in the same competition area (the Pentathlon Stadium) which is fantastic for Spectators, Media and Television.
Spectators will have the real possibility to watch and to understand immediately what is happening (falling targets or lights on electronic targets allow spectators to understand immediately if the shot was good or not).
The rules will be more simple then the current ones


The format for the Modern Pentathlon will change to commence with the fencing discipline, rather then the shooting. Athletes will complete the fence, swim and ride before the combined event. They will start the combined event in a similar manner to the current handicap system with their scores from the first three disciplines determining the start position. The combined event refers specifically to the shoot and run disciplines which will be competed continuously with 3 x 5 shots and 3 x 1 km run. Athletes will start with a short run to the shooting range where they will make 5 shots within one minute and 10 seconds. Once they complete the shots (or the time expires, whichever happens first) they will then run one kilometre course returning to the shooting range to repeat the sequence two further times. The last one kilometre run will complete the event at the finish line.

Example of a Modern pentathlon competition time schedule inclusive of combined event

Event Competition schedule
Fencing Competition
Start competition 10.00
Conclude competition about 12.40
Swimming Preparation Warming up plus change dress + Transports
Swimming Competition Start competition 13.40
Conclude competition 14.00
Rest Time Between first and second part One hour
Riding Preparation Presentation of the horses and warming up 30'
Riding Competition Start competition 15.30
Conclude competition 17.18
Combined Preparation 30’warm up
Combined Event Start competition 17.50
Conclude Competition 18.05
Total Time 8h 05 with one hour break


Instead of an early start at 06.00 in the morning and finish late in the evening, competing especially the first part (shooting) without spectators, the competition can start at 10.00 and finish all within 8 hours, including one hour rest between the first two events and the Pentathlon Stadium part (Riding + Shoot/Run).


The Pentathlon Stadium refers to the arena, in which the three final disciplines of modern pentathlon will take place in one location - riding, shooting, running. With the combined event it will now be possible for spectators to enjoy three superb sports within one hour and thiry minutes, without leaving their seats.

In Category A competitions (World Cup Series, World Championships) electronic targets displaying the shot/miss lights on both sides will be used so that everyone in the stadium is aware of the result in the shoot.


These innovative targets, purpose built for modern pentathlon, have been designed for ease-of-use and clearly show the shots and misses by using green and red lights respectively. In addition these targets are lightweight (2.2kg) and therefore easier to transport, are considerably cheaper then other models on the market, work effectively in all weather conditions and are remote control, to name a few of the advantages.

In 2009, UIPM will use the Competition “A” Category targets for all Category “A” competitions (World Cup Series, World Championships). The other targets area available for competition orgainsers and athletes for whom the training model will be valuable