On Friday, Germany’s modern pentathlon coach punched a competing horse out of frustration and was subsequently disqualified from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Germany coach Kim Raisner punched rider Annika Schleu’s horse after it refused to jump during Friday’s show jumping event. Raisner is now suspended and will not be involved in Saturday’s men’s individual competition.
Germany’s Olympic team chief Alfons Hoermann commented on the matter. He said the coach had been pulled from tomorow’s men’s individual event. Additionally, Hoermann also brought up needed rule changes from the Modern Pentathlon Federation (UIPM).
“We were all in agreement that the coach will not be at the competition on Saturday,” Hoermann said, according to a NY Post article.
“We also consider that an urgent review of the incident is necessary,” Hoermann added. “Especially in terms of animal protection, and that the national and international federations draw their conclusions.”
“Rules must change in such a way so that rider and horse are protected,” he continued. “The focus must be on the welfare of the animals and the fair competition for athletes.”
Heading into Friday’s horse jumping event, Schleu had a commanding 24-second lead on her competitors. Modern pentathletes compete in five separate sporting events to decide the medalists. Previous to this segment of the pentathlon, competitors each draw a horse at random. They are then given 20 minutes to warm up with their horse before competing.
Schleu’s horse Saint Boy showed signs of not cooperating during warmups. While competing the issues continued when the horse refused to hit its jumps. Schleu blew up with frustration as cameras captured her agonizing screams as tears ran down her face.
Raisner ordered Schleu to “really hit it, hit,” the horse. The coach then hit the horse once above its back leg, which drew international criticism immediately.
2020 Tokyo Olympics Event Draws Criticism For Unfair Rule
The modern pentathlon event is a unique event unto itself. However, many have questioned its fairness following yesterday’s competition.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics event consists of five disciplines. They include fencing, swimming, running, shooting, and horse riding. It’s arguably the most versatile event in the Olympics. Yet a unique rule has cast doubt over the competition.
Many have deemed the modern pentathlon unfair because riders steeds are selected at random. In addition, many also find it unfair that riders only have 20 minutes to bond with their horse before competing. Schleu isn’t the only rider who had troubles with their horse. Multiple riders had issues with their unwilling steeds.
Schleu, the leader of the competition, fell completely out of contention because of her horse refusing to jump. Saint Boy simply did not tackle a single obstacle on the course, which lays no blame on Schleu. Yet the rider lost all her podium hopes because of the horse’s performance.
Former British pentathlete Heather Fell is a commentator for the event. She described Schleu’s circumstance as a “real life nightmare.”
“This is hard to watch, hard to commentate on,” Fell continued.