Pentathlon is a combination of multiple athletic events such as target shooting, fencing, equestrian skills, swimming and cross country running. These events are a test of the athlete’s skills, expertise, agility, sense of timing, tolerance, and of course will power.
The competitor has to participate in all the events and perform well in order to win the pentathlon.
Modern Pentathlon has its roots from the military, as these events were often used to test the officers’ physical fitness, mind and body coordination, flexibility, and determination. These events were conducted for 5 days, with one event being played per day. However, since 1996, these events are conducted on a single day. Modern pentathlon games have a 1000 point scoring scale. Contestants need to ensure that they complete the task within the set time, finishing below the set time could mean points being added to their initial scores and finishing below the prescribed time would lead to points being deducted.
Fencing: Epee swords are used during fencing matches and the opponent’s entire body is the target range. These swords have electronic tips which are used for scoring. The criterion is one hit per minute by either of the two contestants, or else it considered a defeat for both.
Riding: This is one of the most challenging tasks which the riders have to go through, because the horses are randomly chosen and so each rider doesn’t have the luxury of riding on a familiar horse. The riding track is 350 – 400 m (length); 130 cm (width) and the height of the obstacles are up to 120 cm high. The riders are given 5 fences to practice with. At the start of the event, each competitor is given 1100 points. However, they can lose points for e.g. 30 points for knocking down an obstacle, 40 points when the horse does not jump and 60 points if they fall off from their horses.
Swimming: Participants have to swim a distance of 200m (freestyle). The contestants can win 1000 points if they complete the set distance in 2 minutes and 30 seconds for men, and 2 minutes and 40 seconds for women. However, if the contestants can finish the distance in 3/10 second below or above the set time, they are rewarded or penalized 4 points.
Running: Contestants have to run across a 3000m cross country race course, the distance is the same for both men and women. They can win 1000 points on completing the distance in 10 minutes for men and 11 minutes 20 seconds for women. They can win or lose 2 points for every half a second above or below the prescribed time.