Different Types Of Pentathlon Events

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The pentathlon is a contest which is an amalgamation of five different events. The name has been derived from Greek language – ‘pente’ which means five and ‘athlon’ which means competition.

Pentathlon is a contest where multiple athletic events such as target shooting, fencing, equestrian skills, swimming and cross country running are played. These events are a trail of the athlete’s skills, expertise, agility, sense of timing, ability to endure and his will power.

In order to win the pentathlon, the contestant must participate in all the five events, perform well and accumulate the maximum number of points.

Ancient Pentathlon: The evidence of this event was first seen in Ancient Greece at the Ancient Olympic Games. This event was popular among the Greeks and one can also see its depictions on the Greek pottery. It has also found mention in the Greek mythology. The pentathlon was considered as the complete test of a man’s physical fitness, strength and determination, therefore all the athletes participating in the contest were looked at with high regard.

Modern Olympics: The pentathlon returned as an Olympic event in Athens in 1906. It was founded by Baron Pierre de Coubertin in 1912. He was inspired by the pentathlon events played in the Ancient Olympics, where the skills and physical ability of the soldiers were tested. In the modern pentathlon, the athletes must ride on a horse which is chosen randomly, fight using a pistol and sword, run and also swim. Therefore the modern pentathlon is also a combination of five events.

Military Pentathlon: The modern pentathlon was initially introduced to test the skills of the soldiers; however most of the tests (fencing and horse riding) did not apply much to the modern soldiers. The events played in the military pentathlon are-

Shooting: Competitors have to prove their skills in precision over a distance of 200 metres. They have to shoot 10 shots in 10 minutes and also a rapid fire round (10 shots in 1 minute)

Obstacle running: Competitors have to run through a 500 meter course laden with 20 obstacles.

Obstacle swimming: The competitors have to swim across a distance of 50 meters which has 4 obstacles in it.

Throwing: Here their skills in precision and throwing are tested.

Cross country running: The competitors have to run on an 8 km cross country race course.

Women’s pentathlon: The women’s pentathlon was introduced in the Olympics in 1964 and was played till 1980. However, the heptathlon replaced women’s pentathlon in 1984. The events in the heptathlon were different from those in the ancient Olympic Games. Shot put, high jump, long jump, sprint and an obstacle race were the events which the contestants had to participate in. It is difficult to have javelin throw contests in indoor stadiums, therefore heptathlons cannot be contested much and pentathlons are contested in its place.

The scoring system in the modern pentathlon scoring can be quite confusing for people new to the contest. Each contestant is given 1000 points at the beginning of the contest.

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