|Dr h.c. Klaus Schormann- President, International Union of Modern Pentathlon|
|Profile of the week|
Monday, 10 September 2012 10:47
Dr h.c. Klaus Schormann has been the President of the International Union of Modern Pentathlon (UIPM) since 1993. This position was jointly held with the President of the International Biathlon Union until 1998 when the two sports separated into self-governing bodies.
Dr Schormann has always displayed a high level of voluntary commitment to sport, having been involved since 1965 in various roles for Modern Pentathlon. Most notable is his position as President of the German Association for Modern Pentathlon, which he has held since 1984.
Since 1994, Dr Schormann has been serving in the IOC Commission for Culture and Olympic Education.
In 2005, Dr Schormann was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Sport Science of the Johannes Gutenburg University Mainz-Germany and has received numerous awards and distinctions in Germany, Chinese Taipei, China, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania and Monaco in recognition of his services to sport.
In 2007, he also joined the Executive Board of the German Olympic Academy.
Dr h.c. Schormann is married with two children and one grand-child.
You became President in 1993, how has the sport progressed during your tenure?
In my nineteen years, I have changed the sport dramatically.
We have made quite a lot of changes on the sports side, including the move from using fire pistols to air pistols, and the change to a one day format in 1993. After that, we changed the running distance and established everything equally, so that the men and women not only have the same disciplines, but also the distance as well.
The other big step was to establish a relay competition, instead of the team competition, in the Olympic Games. Since, the biggest step has been to combine running and shooting. Finally, after the Singapore Youth Olympic Games in 2010, we have introduced laser shooting, which was introduced for the first time during London 2012.
How has the organisation progressed?
We have established a lot of things on the administration side. I started with 63 member federations and now we have more than 120. Under my leadership, we have a fulltime office in Monaco and we now have a fulltime General Secretary.
We have also established an Athletes Committee and made sure that the Chair is in all bodies of the Union. Similarly, we created a Coach Committee, where the Chairman is also an Executive Board member. All the different pillars of the sport are established in the Executive Board, so that they can be heard and discuss things. It is very democratic.
Swimming and running aside, fencing, show jumping and shooting seem affluent. How are working to make pentathlon a sport affordable to everyone?
It is not as expensive as people think. When you buy your fencing equipment, you then have that for years. When you look at horseback riding, for competitions, the horses are provided by the organising committees.
As for shooting, it is a little bit more expensive on the facility side because you need a shooting range, a place to store the pistols and ammunition and so on. But we have changed and taken care of this when we started using laser pistols. The laser pistols at clubs will be well developed and much cheaper than before. It is much more flexible as you can even establish your training wherever you want.
Also, there are a lot of new possibilities for athletes to combine their training. It is much better for training, it reduces cost and you are also saving time by not having to go to different sport facilities.
Is there a way to change the perception pentathlon has?
We have spoken about producing information we can place on the website, as well as hard copies in different languages. We will give it to the member federations so that they can distribute and explain the sport to people.
We also need to explain that we are not just a military sport. It is true that the history is based on military society, but when I took over as President, I said that we should focus more on other societies, such as students. They can teach themselves based on both their sport and academic education to get what is needed for their life after Pentathlon.
Considering the poor economic climate, has the UIPM suffered?
We are in a stable financial condition, which is linked to our sponsors. New Balance, RAM Swiss Watches and Speedo will be our partners for some more years. Also, we have received benefits from these Olympic Games and made some new partnerships. LOCOG presented our sport in an excellent way and people learnt. Our disciplines were in excellent facilities and spectators viewing the event had such high knowledge of the sport.
When choosing partners, do you have a specific criteria?
This is something very special. If I take New Balance, they really like our sport. Unlike some other sponsors, they are not just focused on making money, but they know we are a very high level sport and well respected in society.
When people hear that this great sport has partners like New Balance and Lufthansa, our longest sponsor since 1989, really great names in the business society, it is prestigious for the sport. These sponsors like our sport and they like to promote the sport.
The skills the athletes are showing are also linked to the quality of their products and what they are serving, so they can identify themselves with our product.
The World Cup Series this year will be heading to Hungary, Brazil, China, USA and Russia. Are you hoping to take the series to other parts of the world?
We have a global sport created by Pierre de Coubertin. Next year, we will have a World Cup in Chengdu, Rio de Janeiro, Bupadest and Palm Springs. We will not be in Australia next year, but we will try to have a big competition in Oceania in the next few years.
As well, it makes us quite happy to know that in all religion groups and ethnic groups, our sport is respected and accepted. For example, Pentathlon is a sport that can be more developed for the Islamic population. There are not many sports that are included in the philosophy of religion, but the pentathlon is.
There is no limit to who can participate in our sport. This is something very unique and very special.