World’s military athletes to compete in Wuhan
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.