UIPM is removing riding from modern pentathlon ©Getty Images

The International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) has held talks with athletes over concerns related to the replacement of riding as the fifth discipline, with obstacle racing currently looking likely to replace it permanently.

The Open Athletes Meeting was held this evening following the conclusion of the men's semi-finals of the UIPM World Cup in Ankara.

Riding is to be replaced by obstacle racing as one of the five disciplines in the sport, following a decision by the governing body's Executive Board.

It argued "force majeure" for removing riding without consultation from athletes after controversy arose at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games when a German trainer punched a horse, leading to animal welfare concerns.

"We are grateful to all athletes who participated in tonight's Open Athletes Meeting both on site in Ankara and online," said a UIPM spokesperson.

"We feel the pain of all pentathletes who are being asked to go through a hugely difficult adaptation for the sake of modern pentathlon's future in the Olympic Games.

"Together with representatives of the UIPM Athletes Committee we listened carefully to the feedback and comments given during the meeting, and we will continue to have an open dialogue throughout this critical process of reform.

 "The aim of the new fifth discipline process is to transform modern pentathlon into one of the most popular, accessible and exciting sports on the Olympic programme. 

"We are focused on providing opportunities for future generations but we ask current athletes to join us on the journey because together we have an opportunity to secure the future of the sport."

Opposition continued from the traditionalists, with Olympic men's champion Joe Choong of Britain questioning who defended riding from the UIPM in meetings with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The UIPM has suggested that in line with the Agenda 2020+5, the IOC needed riding to be removed to keep the sport on the Olympic programme.

UIPM President Klaus Schormann said they had been given a "clear message" to remove the discipline, but did not divulge further details.

Following back-and-forth discussion, Choong called for those dissatisfied with the answers to leave, in which a dozen people stood up and left.

Later, Ukrainian Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist Pavlo Tymoshchenko raised a query about the number of nations who do tetrathlon, who are unable to get into pentathlon due to the inaccessibility to horses.

A member of the UIPM replied that they could name "about 30 countries".

It is not clear whether these nations actively participate in tetrathlon.

Obstacle racing is to be trialled later this month at a test event in Ankara, with the UIPM Congress set to vote on whether it will replace riding in modern pentathlon for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games.