A German modern pentathlon coach has been thrown out of the Tokyo Olympics for punching a horse during competition.
Kim Raisner was trying to assist German athlete Annika Schleu as she battled to control Saint Boy ahead of her show jumping round in the women’s event on Friday. Athletes are given only 20 minutes to bond with an unfamiliar horse before their round and Schleu, who had been leading the field, was in tears as she came into the ring.
The International Modern Pentathlon Union said it reviewed footage showing Raisner “appearing to strike the horse … with her fist” and that “her actions were deemed to be in violation of [the rules].” She was also heard calling to Schleu to whip the horse harder.
Saint Boy had already refused to jump for another rider, Russian competitor Gulnaz Gubaydullina, earlier in the competition and the German Modern Pentathlon Union said he had been “traumatised by the previous rider” even before Schleu’s round, during which he bucked and refused to trot around the course.
A number of people on social media subsequently raised concerns about the way Schleu and Raisner were treating the horse.
German athlete campaign group Athleten Deutschland criticised what it called “the hostility and partly open hate” directed at Schleu on social media and said modern pentathlon should consider changing its rules “to ensure animal protection and appropriate competition conditions for the athletes in future.”
The world governing body for modern pentathlon, the UIPM, acknowledged those concerns before the men’s event on Saturday and then issued a statement revealing Raisner’s punishment.
The statement read: “The UIPM Executive Board (EB) has given a black card to the Germany team coach Kim Raisner, disqualifying her from the remainder of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The EB reviewed video footage that showed Ms Raisner appearing to strike the horse Saint Boy, ridden by Annika Schleu, with her fist during the riding discipline of the women’s modern pentathlon competition.
“Her actions were deemed to be in violation of the UIPM competition rules, which are applied to all recognised modern pentathlon competitions including the Olympic Games. The EB decision was made today at the Tokyo Stadium before the resumption of the men’s modern pentathlon competition.”[SOURCE]