Discipline has been officially added to modern pentathlon for the LA28 Olympic games
UIPM hopes to take advantage of the “truly immense” growth potential for modern pentathlon by adding Ninja Warrior to the sport for the LA 2028 Olympic Games, UIPM secretary general Shiny Fang has told Broadcast Sport.
The IOC announced in November that the discipline will take over from horse riding in the sport, under the name of Obstacle. UIPM is now working with Ninja Warrior creator Tokyo Broadcasting System Television on how this will be done, providing a Ninja Warrior set for test events held through 2023. Obstacle will be added to the World Championships and all other elite competition in 2025.
Fang has high hopes for the addition of the sport, saying, “The growth potential for our sport is truly immense, particularly when considering the existing baseline numbers. Obstacle shows are viewed by so many people around the world, Ninja Warrior (or its original form, Sasuke) especially. This audience is evidence of the sport’s inherent appeal, and we are already witnessing its impact on our own growth. However, to fully realise our maximum potential, we must take the time to ensure that every building block is firmly in place, guaranteeing sustainable success for the future of our sport.”
TBS will have input on how the sport is presented, Fang revealed earlier last month, “As pioneers of the Ninja Warrior TV phenomenon and inventors of the original show, Sasuke, we believe that continuous inspiration from TBS can help UIPM to further develop our Ninja-style Obstacle product as a recognised sport. We want to reproduce that level of excitement and dynamism at a competitive Olympic level, seamlessly integrated with the other Modern Pentathlon disciplines, as we anticipate a mouth-watering debut in the Olympic Games Los Angeles 2028.”
She added to Broadcast Sport on the TBS link, “We are carefully reviewing each step to ensure we reach an agreement that will ultimately serve the best interests of the global Obstacle community and the future of our sport. We are already working closely with existing partners and we know that there is considerable interest in our new-look sport from all corners of commercial society.”
Fang also explained how the new addition to the sport has been integrated to date, and how it will continue to, saying, “We successfully conducted a series of test events in 2022, including Obstacle Discipline Test Events in Turkey, the Philippines, Italy, and Poland. These events provided valuable insights into the integration of Obstacle discipline into Modern Pentathlon.
“Building on this momentum, we hosted junior and youth competitions in 2023, including the UIPM U17 World Championships in Egypt, the U19 World Championships in Türkiye and Junior World Championships in Lithuania. The latter competition was live-streamed, enabling fans to get their first glimpse of the new Pentathlon as a live broadcast. Meanwhile, our social media channels have been busy with vibrant and engaging content, with clear initial audience growth.”
“We are currently refining the Obstacle equipment and format to create an optimal environment for the world’s top athletes to showcase their skills at the highest level. This will continue in 2024 with a second year of Obstacle integration into Modern Pentathlon at youth and junior level. Once this transition is complete, we can fully focus on engaging with the millions of fans that make up the global Obstacle community.”