China shows athletic strength at Military World Games
The Chinese military showed its superior strength in the water – in this instance a swimming pool – by winning gold in half of the races contested at the 5th Military World Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The 18 gold medals in swimming pushed the Chinese team to a second-place finish behind host nation Brazil. China collected 99 medals: 37 gold, 28 silver and 34 bronze. Other golds were awarded in shooting and military pentathlon, four each; taekwondo, three; boxing, parachuting and track and field, two each; and fencing and judo, one each.
Brazil finished with 15 more medals: 45 gold, 33 silver and 36 bronze during the July 16 to 24 competition.
Chinese Olympian Jiao Liuyang collected four gold medals, setting a championship record in the 100-meter butterfly event. After competing against the military athletes, she headed to Shanghai to compete against the best swimmers in the world championship competition hosted by China, according to published reports.
China also claimed the game’s highest ranking officer to win a gold medal. Lt. Col. Yongde Jin won gold in military rapid fire, a contest held at the Lt. Guilherme Paraense National Shooting Sports Center.
In another competition directly related to military activities, women’s parachute accuracy, China took home gold and silver medals. Jia Peng finished first, followed by He Yufeng.
The event was more than an opportunity for military athletes to show their prowess at an international competition, the organization president told the American Forces Press Service.
Col. Hamad Kalkaba Malboum of Cameroon stressed the friendships that develop and the ideals the athletes take back with them to their native countries. These games differ from traditional military exercises because of the common bond of the sport. In military games, an enemy is in the scenario.
“We don’t think enemy,” he told Fred W. Baker III of the American Forces Press Service.
As the games progress, friendships grow through shared competition. Those friendships continue after the game’s flame is extinguished.
“Then we spread that spirit, and it could bring understanding. It could bring tolerance. Then it could [lead to] accepting each other despite our differences of culture, of color, of environment,” Malboum said.
The games featured peaceful competition involving athletes from countries where peace remains unreachable.
South Korea and its neighbor, North Korea, sent strong teams, finishing sixth and seventh in total medals, respectively.
South Korea collected 22 medals: eight gold, six silver and eight bronze; while North Korea collected 12 medals: seven gold, two silver and three bronze. India collected three bronze medals and Pakistan collected one bronze.
South Korea also left Rio de Janeiro with the knowledge it will be hosting military athletes in 2015 in Mungyeong for the sixth annual competition. Chinese officials hope to host the competition in 2019.
Malboum told Chinese reporters, “I would like to congratulate the Chinese delegation for their great performance at the 5th Military World Games, and sincerely hope that China could hold the 7th Military World Games.”
South Korea has much to do in the next four years to match Rio’s efforts. The event, by the numbers, show 4,175 military athletes (3,116 men and 1,059 women) from 110 countries competed and were judged by 281 referees from around the world. Organizers reported 1,152 instances where athletes received first aid treatment. All who competed hoped to win at least one of the 1,421 medals: 459 gold, 459 silver and 503 bronze (the combat sports award two bronze medals per category).
To receive and house all these athletes, Rio organizers also had to prepare on a grand scale. Three villages were built with a total of 1,036 rooms. The cafeterias served 257,832 meals. Additionally, buses that were used to transport the delegations and members of the organization made 400 trips a day to Rio de Janeiro, the second most populated city in Brazil. The event featured 2,267 volunteers, 4,657 outsourced workers and 18,097 on-duty military personnel and 114 registered foreign journalists.
The Korea Herald reported South Korea is to host the games from May 29 to June 5, 2015, at the Korea Armed Forces Athletic Corps’ sports complex in Mungyeong and six other cities in North Gyeongsang Province.
Participants are to compete in 25 events with archery as a demonstration sport.
Mungyeong and the Korea Armed Forces Athletic Corps expect to host 12 events while other cities ― Sangju, Gimcheon, Yeongju, Andong, Yecheon and Pohang ― will host the rest. Mungyeong is expected to get state funding to support infrastructure construction. The Ministry of Strategy and Finance approved a $34.6 million first-phase budget for the city’s bidding in August 2010. Organizers hope the games will attract five-star hotels to the region.