At the start of the 2019 Military World Games in Wuhan, China, Herve Piccirillo, the president of the International Military Sports Council (CISM), said on Thursday he wanted more countries to join the event in future.
Twenty-five countries including Russia, Brazil, France, Germany and Poland, have sent delegations of more than 100 members to this year’s games. It is the first time that the games, organised by the CISM every four years, will be held in China since the first event in 1995.
Piccirillo said, according to Xinhuanet: “The CISM motto is ‘friendship through sport’. Obviously we would like to welcome countries that are not part of CISM, such as Australia and Britain, or other countries in Asia or Africa. I think what is important is to create a platform for exchange so the dialogue is permanent.”
The Military World Games is a multi-sport event for military sportspeople and has been held since 1995. This year’s event in Wuhan has record-high numbers of participants and events, with 9,308 athletes from 109 countries, competing in 329 events in 27 sports. The sports include the naval pentathlon, military pentathlon, modern pentathlon, aeronautical pentathlon, shooting, swimming, basketball, tennis, gymnastics, archery, boxing, cycling, equestrian, fencing, football, golf, judo, orienteering, parachuting, sailing, table tennis, taekwondo, track and field sports including marathon, triathlon, and volleyball including beach volleyball.
Among the athletes, 67 have won titles at Olympics, World Championships or World Cup level, and 118 were ranked in their respective top eights at the 2016 Olympic Games.
Piccirillo praised the “organisation and popular mobilisation” work of the Chinese organisers of the Wuhan games: “This is a historic first in military sport because over 9,000 participants are gathering for 10 days in Wuhan to exchange and share common values.
“With this event in China we will take a step forward because today there are 109 countries out of 140 CISM members that are present.”
This year’s competition offers increased opportunities for para-athletes, Piccirillo said.
“In this uncertain world, there are more and more physical and psychological injuries. It was important to integrate sport as a tool to rebuilding and rehabilitation of military wounded.”
Major General Yang Jian, president of the games’ executive commission, and deputy director of the Chinese Central Military Commission’s training management department, said: “The 406 athletes of the Chinese delegation have received intensive training before the competitions. They have high morale and spirits. They will make sure to compete with their best performance and strive to achieve excellent results.”
The opening ceremony of the 2019 Military World Games takes place tonight.