Modern pentathlon hub to be developed in Kunming

UIPM Asia-Pacific Development Centre in Kunming, China

Featured image credit: UIPM

The International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) has revealed plans for a ground-breaking new facility for the sport in Kunming, China.

The UIPM Asia-Pacific Development Centre complex, which will include the UIPM Altitude Training Base and the five-in-one UIPM Asia-Pacific International Event Centre, will be built in the capital city of Yunnan province in southwest China.

The state-of-the-art facilities are intended to not only help UIPM in the goal of growing the sport in a key region of focus, but also provide an Asian base capable of hosting top-class global, continental and national competitions and events.

The UIPM Asia-Pacific Development Centre will contain an international sports stadium, a five-in-one Pentathlon Stadium with a seated capacity of at least 10,000, a swimming pool with a seated capacity of 5,000 and a training base, which will be able to accommodate as many as 300,000 athletes per year.

The venue will be qualified to host major UIPM international events such as Pentathlon World Championships, Pentathlon World Cups and other related competitions. The surrounding facilities include a rehabilitation and nutrition centre, athlete apartments, a hotel and other commercial services.

According to the facility’s construction timeline, in conjunction with Yunnan Wuxiang Sports Industry Development Co Ltd, the stadium will be completed by the middle of 2024 with the training base and development centre to follow later that year. The remainder of the facility will be completed by the end of 2025.

The UIPM said the development centre has received strong support from the Chinese Olympic Committee, Chinese General Administration of Sport and the Yunnan provincial government. The general office of Yunnan’s provincial government stated in a letter to UIPM that “they are attaching great importance to this project”.

UIPM president, Klaus Schormann, said: “By helping to develop the Asia-Pacific Development Centre for the benefit of all countries in the region, UIPM can significantly aid the growth and development of the sport across Asia. What’s more, this project can only create positive benefits for athletes around the world, with the possibilities for major UIPM events to be hosted at this dedicated base in China.

“We are very fortunate that such needs could be accommodated by this unique opportunity. We do appreciate all the efforts that the Chinese local government, central sports administration and our new operational partner from Yunnan Province have provided to UIPM.”

Today’s (Wednesday’s) announcement comes with modern pentathlon battling for its place on the Olympic Games programme. In May, obstacle was selected for testing as UIPM explores the possibility of integrating the racing concept into modern pentathlon after the Paris 2024 Games.

At the end of the testing and evaluation phase, the UIPM 2022 Congress on November 14 will vote on proposals for the Los Angeles 2028 modern pentathlon format to be submitted to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Modern pentathlon has been left off the initial programme for Los Angeles 2028 and it is hoped that the addition of the obstacle discipline will support the UIPM’s efforts for inclusion. The UIPM in November opened a consultation process to identify a suitable replacement for horse riding.

The sport was faced with controversy during last year’s postponed Olympic Games in Tokyo when German coach Kim Raisner was seen punching a horse which had refused to jump a fence. Raisner was sent home from Japan and disciplined by the UIPM.

Commenting on the Kunming project, UIPM secretary general, Shiny Fang, said: “While UIPM has invested so much in the continued growth of its sports pyramid and the provision of tools for athletes and national federations, such as development kits, we have constantly been fielding requests for assistance to help provide different training opportunities, especially for newly-established NFs.

“As the most populous continent, Asia, together with Oceania, has been identified as a key area of focus for UIPM in recent years. Our sports have so much potential to grow and to be embraced by a young and engaged population who can look to our sports for the dynamic, healthy and positive outlets they provide.

“The project is very ambitious and it will take years to be completed in its entirety. But this is a hugely positive step forward for our sport, and one we know will benefit our entire community for generations to come.”