Zielona Góra is poised to host the fourth and final test event for obstacle racing ©UIPM

An indoor course based on American-hit television show Ninja Warrior is set to be used for the International Modern Pentathlon Union’s (UIPM) fourth and final test event for obstacle racing here.

The world’s leading junior pentathletes are poised to tackle sonic steps, double swings, tilting ladders, floating steps, globe grasper, single cat grab, ring toss and warped wall in the eight-obstacle competition in Poland.

According to the UIPM, the course has been created in collaboration with the Tokyo Broadcasting System Television to resemble the sequences made popular by the Ninja Warrior that is based on Japanese TV series Sasuke.

It will be the first time a UIPM test event for obstacle racing has been held indoors with the WOSiR Drzonków training centre in Zielona Góra chosen as the venue.

"We already had very successful test events in Ankara, Manila and Lignano and now we have a very special opportunity to test the format indoors," said UIPM President Klaus Schormann.

"How the obstacles will be set up is very close to Ninja Warrior and it’s very important for the Union that we test different course styles.

"We saw high-profile athletes test the course in Ankara, then a mixed group in the Philippines, then the youths in Italy and here now the juniors who are already very skilled in all disciplines."

The indoor course in Poland is due to consist of eight obstacles for athletes to tackle ©UIPM
The indoor course in Poland is due to consist of eight obstacles for athletes to tackle ©UIPM

Participants are set to be drawn from the under-22 ranks with pentathletes from 23 countries across six continents competing in the UIPM Pentathlon Junior Championships in Zielona Góra.

A total of 36 men are expected to compete tomorrow before 18 male and 18 female athletes take part on Saturday (October 8).

Both days are due to consist of a demonstration and warm-up led by Polish elite athletes followed by a free training session and then a competition.

Following the event, the UIPM said athletes, coaches and observers will be invited to give their views on their experience.

"It will be very important to evaluate with the working group the feedback we receive and consider what kind of obstacles we will later choose and what other steps we can take to create flexibility all year round, indoors and outdoors, for training and competitions," said Schormann.

"I’m very excited to see that many nations are willing to compete and I know there is a big appetite for them to test this concept and have a feeling for this change, which can make our multi-sport more accessible around the world.

"I think it will be a great experience for all participants this weekend."

Participants battling it out in the UIPM Pentathlon Junior Championships are expected to take part in the two-day test event ©UIPM
Participants battling it out in the UIPM Pentathlon Junior Championships are expected to take part in the two-day test event ©UIPM

Obstacle racing is being put forward as a replacement for horse riding which is being axed after the Paris 2024 Olympics.

The decision to ditch the equestrian element came in the wake of a horse abuse scandal at Tokyo 2020 when German coach Kim Raisner was sent home in disgrace after punching the horse Saint Boy when it refused to jump for Annika Schleu, who led the competition at the time.

Criticism has been levelled at the UIPM over a lack of transparency in the process to replace riding with British Olympic champions Kate French and Joe Choong among those to hit out at the International Federation.

The UIPM is aiming to secure modern pentathlon’s place at the Olympics after the sport was left off the initial list for Los Angeles 2028.

This weekend’s test event is the last before obstacle racing is expected to be proposed as the fifth discipline to the UIPM Congress, scheduled to be held online from November 12 to 13.

"I’m looking forward to this test event because I am confident it will be a strong sequel to the previous three successful tests," said Yasser Hefny, chair of the UIPM Athletes’ Committee.

"This is the best and most professional testing process I have witnessed since I started modern pentathlon.

"Test event IV differs from the previous ones because it will test our juniors and will be held in an indoor venue, which is interesting because it proves the new discipline is very flexible and can be adapted according to multiple locations, terrains, weather conditions and so on."