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Modern Pentathlon
Cross-country running

The event takes place over three or four days in the order as above. Swimming and shooting take place on the same day. Riding can take place over one or two days.



See also Fencing on this site. The fencing bouts take place on mats measuring 2 metres (6 feet 6 inches) by 14 metres (46 feet).

Electrical touch recorders are used. Dress is to conform to international fencing regulations.National colours are worn on the arm not holding the weapon.

All fencers meet each other aiming for one touch. There must be at least 20 bouts in total. If there are less than 21 competitors, there will be a second round of bouts. Each bout lasts one minute. If neither competitor scores a touch, the bout counts as a defeat for both fencers (double defeat).

If a competitor is eliminated in the fencing, all their bouts are disregarded. Winning 70% of the bouts gives the competitor a total of 1000 points.

Points are gained and lost for every win above or below the percentage. These points are calculated by dividing 1100 by the number of bouts. If there is a tie, a deciding bout will be held to determine the fencing winner, but the number of points scored is not affected.


See also Swimming on this site.

The race is 300 metres for men, 200 metres for women, both freestyle. Competitors are divided into heats according to current standing in the points table, and the number of lanes.

The points are awarded on a 'par' basis, with men getting 1000 points for a swim of 2 minutes, 30 seconds. Women get 1000 points for completing their swim in 2 minutes, 40 seconds. For men and women, 4 points are gained or lost for every tenth of a second under or over this time respectively.

There are penalties of 40 points for two false starts, or for not touching the wall at the end of a lap.


The pistols used have a .22 calibre (5.6 millimetres). The maximum size is 3 centimetres (1.1 inches) by 1.5 centimetres (0.6 inches), with a 5% tolerance in one direction. The maximum weight is 1.26 kilograms (2.8 pounds).

The target is a circle with a 50 centimetre (19.7 inch) diameter, black with a white edge. It is divided into six scoring zones. The competitors shoot from 25 metres (82 feet) away.

Four series of five shots are fired by each competitor. A practice series of five shots may befired before the first series. The targets have 10 rings and a centre circle. One point is scored for the outside ring, two for the next ring and so on. Ten points are scored for a hit in the centre circle. If a shot hits the line between two rings the higher score is counted.

The maximum target score is 200, which converts to 1336 points. A target score of 172 equates to 1000 points, with every target point above or below 172 adding or taking 12 points from the pentathlon score.

Cross-country running

The course is 3 kilometres (1.8 miles) for men and women. It is marked with white tape and signposts with red flags on the left side, white flags on the right. Competitors start at 30 second intervals. Dress consists of team or national colours, with the starting number on the chest and back.

If men complete the course in 10 minutes 0 seconds they get 1000 points. Every second faster or slower than this gains or loses 3 points. If women complete the course in 11 minutes 20 seconds they get 1000 points. Every second faster or slower than this gains or loses 5 points.


The course is 600 metres (a third of a mile) long, with fifteen obstacles, including a double and a triple combination.

A straight fence must be no more than 1.2 metres (4 feet) high, a water jump must be no morethan 3 metres (9.8 feet) wide, a spread fence must be no more than 1.2 metres (4 feet) in height and 1.5 metres (5 feet) in width. An oxer (equal bars) must be no more than 1.2 metres (4 feet) by 1.3 metres (4.2 feet).

Competitors can get a maximum of 1100 points for a clear round in the time allowed - 1 minute,43 seconds. Points are deducted for the following:

Every second over the time - 2 points.

Knocking a fence down, or the horse going in the water - 28 points.

The horse or rider, or both, fall - 40 points.

If the horse does not jump an obstacle - 40 points.

The horse does not jump, but knocks down an obstacle - 60 points.

If part of a combined obstacle is knocked down - 10 points for the first part, 20 for the second, 30 for the third.

After two refusals to jump the rider must try to jump the next obstacle. For every obstacle not jumped - 80 points.


If two or more competitors have the same number of points, the competitor who has won the most individual disciplines is the winner. If there is still a tie, in international events, the disciplines are valued in order of competition, so a win in fencing would count for more than a win in shooting, and so on.

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