CISM board member: 7th Military World Games will offer new 'know-how'
Wei Lynn Tang

Many may not have heard of the Military World Games but visibility has certainly improved since the first games was held in Rome in 1995, said a key personnel of the International Military Sports Council (CISM), the organizer of the games.

"In the past, we have the same kind of sports enrollment, but today we also show it to the world what we can do with the sports," said Major Jan-Henrik Baeck, a member of the board on the CISM.

Baeck also said the 7th Military World Games will provide a new "know-how" for the council.

"The preparations and the infrastructure look very nice and it's totally different from what we had in the past. Because in the past they had been living spread out, nations by nations, disciplines by disciplines," Baeck pointed.

"Now, we are gathering together, so this will be a new know-how for us. And I think this is a winning concept for sure. There are very few nations that can set up these kinds of infrastructure that China has done for this games. It's a huge investment."

Baeck, who's also a Sport Director in the Swedish Armed Forces, said there's a need for the military to unite in the field of sports.

"The most important thing for soldiers to meet is that you set up new networks, you set up new connections with other people that you have not reached before," he shared.

"For instance, when I go to a competition, I meet some people from China and Korea, and two years later I'm in an international mission and I reach my same buddies that I've reached before and we are on speaking terms directly. So this is one of the best things with this community."

Baeck added that it's important for the armed forces to make time and effort in sports because sports is one of the best tools to prepare for one's physical performance.

"For instance pentathlons - you have to improve in 5 disciplines that are very connected to a military task. For instance running, shooting, swimming... this is fundamental for a soldier. That's why the Pentathlons are so good for our branch."

When asked about China's growth in military sports, Baeck said the Chinese are very quick to pick up a new sport and train.

"The first two years they are newcomers, after three to five years they are already top-level in nearly every sport. So the Chinese are always performing very well in sports and we always have to be aware of the Chinese," he said.

"We cannot go to a competition and just say we will take the gold medals, we will not, because the Chinese is there," he added with a chuckle.

Meanwhile, Baeck said China hosting the games for the first time will boost visibility for the country.

"You'd be part of a big sister family. There are now six countries that have conducted the world games and China's one of them," he said.

"China has been a solid member for many many years. This is the first time you're gathering all the sports and nations together like you did in the Olympics some years ago. So I think it's the same way that the Olympics gives you big visibility."