This is Military Pentathlon

The birth of Military Pentathlon took place in 1946, when the frensh captain Henri Debrus got an idea of a sport competition for the soldiers of the Army. He got his inspiration from Netherland’s Airborn Units.

World Military Penthalon Championship 2023 in Halmstad.
World Military Penthalon Championship 2023 in Halmstad.
Obstacle swimming, one of the diciplines of Military Penthalon. Photo: Alexander Gustavsson/Försvarsmakten
World Military Penthalon Championship 2023 in Halmstad.
Shooting is the first of the five diciplines of Military Pentathlon. Photo: Alexander Gustavsson/Försvarsmakten
World Military Penthalon Championship 2023 in Halmstad.
The Obstacle Run, 20 obstacles for men and 16 for women on a 500 meter long course. Photo: Alexander Gustavsson/Försvarsmakten
World Military Penthalon Championship 2023 in Halmstad.
Throwing. The grenades weighs 600 grams for men and 400 grams for women. Photo: Alexander Gustavsson/Försvarsmakten

The Airborn Units of The Netherlands had a test where they were parashooting and then marsching, passing different obstacles and finally throwing granades and shooting rifles. 1947 the first test of the new form of competition took place. Henri Debrus was later promoted to colonel and also became the President of CISM, the International Military Sports Commitee.

In 1988 the Nordic nations tested rules for female competitors at the Nordic Championship. Since the CISM World Championship 1991 in Oslo, Norway, female competitors have been participating on a world level with only a few changes to the rules formerly applied to the men.

The five diciplines of Military Penthalon are shooting, obstacle run, obstacle swimming, throwing and cross country running.

In 1993 for the first time a new event of Military Pentathlon was tested on the occasion of the Second CISM European Championship in Wiener Neustadt, Austria - the Obstacle Relay. As from 1995 this discipline has been part of the CISM World Championship program annually.


At a distance of 200 meters the competitors shoot two different series: A precision series of ten shots within a maximum of ten minutes, and a fast series of ten shots within a maximum of one minute.


Men: 200 Points. No less than eight men has reached the maximum result of 200 in this dicipline. One of them is from Sweden, Krister Rhönnstad made his 200-series in 1987.
Women: 199 Points. This record is held by four female athletes. The last time it happened was 2016 when Jenny Lindkvist from Sweden shot 199 at a competition in Austria.

World Military Penthalon Championship 2023 in Halmstad.
Major Ann Sofie Forssten of Finland. Still the World Record holder of the Obstacle course and still engaged in the sport, but now as a member of the CISM Sports Committee at the World Military Penthathon Championship in Halmstad. Photo: Åsa Eriksson/Försvarsmakten

Obstacle run

The length of the course is 500 meters and consists of 20 obstacles for men and 16 obstacles for women. The obstacles are: Rope ladder, Double beam, Trip wire, Network of wire, Ford, Espalier, Balance beam, Sloping wall with rope, Horizontal beams, Irish table, Tunnel and twin beams, Four steps of beams, Banquette and pit, Assault wall, Pit, Vertical ladder. Assault wall II, Zigzag balance beam, Chicane and Three assault walls in succession.

In the women's event, the rope ladder, sloping wall with rope, four steps of beams and vertical ladder are not negotiated.


Men: 2.10,5. Two athletes share this record, Daniel Wollbrecht, Denmark and Pan Yucheng, China.
Women: 2:12,4. Ann Sofie Forssten, Finland (2007)





Obstacle swim

50 meters containing four obstacles.


Men: 23,8. Harald Koidl, Austria (2000).
Women: 27,3. Naiana Freire, Brazil. 


16 grenades are thrown for precision at four different distances; 20, 25, 30 and 35 meters for men, and 15, 20, 25, 30 meters for women. Distance throwing is also included, where competitors throw three grenades in two minutes. Only the longest throw will count toward the score, which combines points for both distance and precision.


Men: 216,3 Hartmut Nienaber, Germany (1983)
Women: 198,7 Lei Xu, China (2003)

Cross Country

The final event in a Military Penthalon is the Cross country run, where the men run eight kilometers and the women four kilometers. In this Championship the Cross country event will be in form of persuit racing, which mean that all the previous results will be recalculated into seconds. The athlete with most points starts first and first athlete crossing the finish line will be the total winner of the Championship.


Men: 24:25,2 Giuseppe Cappiello, Italy (1970) 
Women: 13:26,7 Li Yin, China (2000)


Men: 5682,1 points, Hartmut Nienaber, Germany (1980) 
Women: 5526,8 points, Lei Wu, China (2000)


Men: 22052,5 China (1998) 
Women: 16437,2 China (2000)


Men: 1:46,30 Venezuela (2009)
Women: 1:53,45 Brazil (2013)



World Military Pentathlon Championship 2023
Facts World Military Pentathlon Championship 2023
Youtube Live streaming

On Saturday the Obstacle Relay can be seen live here from 10.00 o'clock CET.