World’s mil­i­tary ath­letes to com­pete in Wuhan

China Daily (Canada) - - TOP NEWS - By ZHANG ZHIHAO zhangzhi­hao@ chi­

In­vi­ta­tions to games next Oc­to­ber have been sent to 138 coun­tries

The 7th Mil­i­tary World Games will be held in Wuhan, cap­i­tal of Cen­tral China’s Hubei prov­ince, in Oc­to­ber next year, of­fi­cials said on Wed­nes­day.

The build­ing of fa­cil­i­ties and prepa­ra­tions for the games are go­ing ac­cord­ing to plan, Min­istry of Na­tional De­fense spokesman Se­nior Colonel Ren Guo­qiang told a news con­fer­ence in Bei­jing.

Chen Ruifeng, the ex­ec­u­tive vice-mayor of Wuhan, said 10 of the 35 venues for the games have been com­pleted and are op­er­a­tional, and all venues will be fin­ished by April. The games will be held from Oct 18 to 27, 2019.

“These venues up­hold green de­vel­op­ment prin­ci­ples,” Chen said. “All the venues will en­joy eco­log­i­cal en­vi­ron­ments and con­ve­nient trans­porta­tion, and they will be used to train ath­letes, ed­u­cate the pub­lic and host events after the games.”

Ren said the games, spon­sored by the In­ter­na­tional Mil­i­tary Sports Coun­cil, will be “an op­por­tu­nity to demon­strate China’s com­mit­ment to peace­ful de­vel­op­ment, as well as show­case Chi­nese cul­ture and the fruits of its var­i­ous re­forms”.

The Mil­i­tary World Games are the top sport­ing event for mil­i­tary per­son­nel around the world. They have been held ev­ery four years since their launch in 1995, and were last held in Mungyeong, Repub­lic of Korea, in 2015.

China sent in­vi­ta­tions to all 138 mem­ber coun­tries of the coun­cil — which is known by the acro­nym CISM — on Aug 11, or­ga­niz­ers said. The dead­line for reg­is­tra­tion is July 18, and ac­tive ser­vice­men from more than 100 coun­tries are ex­pected to com­pete in Wuhan.

Se­nior Colonel Jia Shi­jiang, spokesman for the Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee of the 7th CISM Mil­i­tary World Games, said China will par­tic­i­pate in 26 of the 27 sports in Wuhan, with golf be­ing the ex­cep­tion.

The games will fea­ture mil­i­tary sports, such as aero­nau­ti­cal pen­tathlon, mil­i­tary pen­tathlon, naval pen­tathlon, ori­en­teer­ing and parachut­ing. Olympic sports such as ta­ble ten­nis, ten­nis and gym­nas­tics will be new ad­di­tions, Jia said.

Around 400 Chi­nese mil­i­tary ath­letes will take part in the games, more than at any pre­vi­ous Mil­i­tary World Games, Jia said, ad­ding that the Chi­nese del­e­ga­tion was con­fi­dent of a record gold medal haul, beat­ing the 38 won at the 4th Mil­i­tary World Games, held in Mum­bai and Hy­der­abad, In­dia, in 2007.

Dop­ing prob­lems and scan­dals have plagued many large in­ter­na­tional sport events in re­cent years, but Jia said the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment and mil­i­tary had al­ways res­o­lutely op­posed dop­ing.

“We would never want any gold medal tainted with dop­ing,” he said. “We will strictly im­ple­ment anti-dop­ing mea­sures ad­her­ing to the stan­dards of zero tol­er­ance, full cov­er­age and no blind spots.”

Anti-dop­ing mea­sures will in­clude strength­en­ing an­ti­dop­ing pub­lic­ity and ed­u­ca­tion, con­duct­ing rig­or­ous checks and self-ex­am­i­na­tions, and se­verely pun­ish­ing those who vi­o­late the rules, he said.

“The Mil­i­tary World Games up­hold the theme of shar­ing friend­ship and pro­mot­ing peace through sports,” Jia said. “Next year will be the 70th an­niver­sary of the na­tion’s found­ing; the world games will be a mo­men­tous op­por­tu­nity to sup­port CISM and world peace.

“It will also show­case China’s achieve­ments in the last 40 years of open­ing-up and re­form, and al­low more peo­ple to un­der­stand and ap­pre­ci­ate Chi­nese cul­ture and tra­di­tions.”

Wuhan, a key cul­tural, in­dus­trial and tech­no­log­i­cal me­trop­o­lis, has an area of more than 8,569 square kilo­me­ters. Its GDP last year was 1.34 tril­lion yuan ($194 bil­lion) and it is home to more than 10.8 mil­lion per­ma­nent res­i­dents.

“The Mil­i­tary World Games will leave a last­ing and com­pre­hen­sive legacy to Wuhan,” Chen said.

Host­ing the games will im­prove Wuhan’s ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment, man­age­ment and in­ter­na­tional im­age, and help res­i­dents be­come more civ­i­lized as they em­brace healthy, green life­styles, he added.

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