LONDON 2012: Olympic modern pentathlon to feature laser guns
LASER guns will replace air pistols in the modern pentathlon events at London 2012 following a successful trial at the inaugural Youth Olympics in Singapore.
OUTDATED: The traditional air pistols used in modern pentathlon will be replaced by modern laser guns at London 2012 (Getty Images)
The use of new technology will reduce the cost of the shooting section of the five-pronged sport by approximately two-thirds, while new venues will become available with increased levels of safety.
Modern pentathlon was expected to be removed from the 2012 Olympic schedule but surprisingly earned a reprieve at the International Olympic Committee Session in 2005 and the sport's rulers immediately set about making changes to modernise the sport, combining the shooting and running format - the final two sections.
And with the International Olympic Committee only guaranteeing the sport's Olympic status until London 2012, the latest move is further evidence of modern pentathlon's modernisation.
World governing body, UIPM, president Klaus Schormann said: "We will have laser shooting for London.
"Based on this new technology, all countries in the world can compete in our sport. Safety issues will no longer be a big concern and we can hold competitions in parks and shopping malls."
The new technology, which first appeared at June's World Cup final in Moscow after years of testing, has also been backed by the sport's honorary president, Prince Albert of Monaco.
"It is a great improvement to the sport," he said. "It's the way of the future."
Whlie the combination of the final two elements of the sport - running and shooting - came into practice after the Beijing Olympics while prior to 1996, the events used to take place over five days.
That change was largely borne out of fears the International Olympic Committee were planning to remove what many consider to be an outdated sport, from the Olympic schedule, having featured at every Summer Games since 1912.
But in 2005 the IOC voted to keep modern pentathlon on the Olympic schedule until at least London 2012 at baseball and softball's expense.
The move is the first example of alterations to sports being trialled at the Youth Olympics before being implemented in its senior sibling but it is unlikely to be the last.
Three-on-three basketball has proved a hit in Singapore while team triathlons and mixed swimming relays have also been tested in the Far East and received glowing reports from IOC officials.