UIPM Athletes' Committee chair Yasser Hefny competed at London 2012 ©Getty Images

The International Modern Pentathlon Union’s (UIPM) decision to replace riding with obstacle racing will "open the sport to new nations", according to Athletes' Committee chair Yasser Hefny.

The decision was taken at the UIPM Congress in November and came against a background where the sport is currently out of the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games.

Modern pentathlon, created by modern Olympics founder Pierre de Coubertin, has featured at the Olympics since making its debut in 1912.

However, Hefny feels that obstacle racing has the power to attract youngsters and is the way forward, despite needing to convince LA28.

"The inclusion of obstacle in modern pentathlon will bring so much to our sport," he said.

"It will open the sport to new nations across the five continents, expanding the representation of athletes at our events.

Modern pentathlon is currently not part of the Los Angeles 2028 programme
Modern pentathlon is currently not part of the Los Angeles 2028 programme

"It will also diversify our medal tables.

"With obstacle now in the mix, the picture changes for all the nations who have exceled in laser run or biathle/triathle but have found horse riding a barrier to success."

The Egyptian, who competed at London 2012, previously told insidethegames that the equestrian discipline has been a "barrier" for African nations looking to participate in modern pentathlon.

However, he realises that it will take time for athletes to come to terms with it.

"I have heard how difficult it has been for many of my fellow athletes to come to terms with the changes which have been made, especially the replacement of riding with obstacle.

"I empathise with them and I applaud those who are currently training for Paris 2024 for sticking to their task while continuing to adapt."

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