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AI to fly athletes to World Military Games

An MoU will enable 5,000-6,000 officials and athletes to fly to India for military Olympic games in Oct at Hyderabad.

india Updated: Feb 17, 2007 10:53 IST

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between India's national carrier Air India and the Brussels-based International Military Sports Council (CISM) to enable 5,000-6,000 officials and athletes to fly to India for the military Olympic games in October at Hyderabad.

The solidarity commission of CISM, under the stewardship of Capt VK Bouhaouala of Tunisia, and representatives of four continents also met in Brussels propose a plan to assist nations financially to fly athletes to India for the games.

"This is a unique step from CISM to express its solidarity towards its sporting fraternity, the aim being to get 100 nations to India to the event of sport for peace," Lt Colonel Amod Chadha, India's liaison officer at the CISM, said.

A grand event is planned across India on March 27 to commemorate the run-up to the games. It in fact marks 200 days left for the games to begin.

More than 5,000 participants from over 100 countries are expected to take part in the Fourth Military World Games (MWG) to be hosted by India. The MWG or better said the military Olympic games are organised by the CISM every four years.

The fundamental aim of the CISM is to bring the soldiers from the battlefield to the sports field "in order to give a humble contribution to world peace", Colonel Michel van Meurs, secretary general of CISM said in a recent interview.

Hyderabad will host all the games, except sailing and triathlon, which will take place in Mumbai, from October 14-21.

"We will bring between 5,000-6,000 soldiers in India from over 100 countries," said van Meurs.

"It is not normal to bring 6,000 soldiers together in friendship, because normally we bring them to war to fight, or to defend something," he added.

"We are happy that for the first time we took the game outside Europe," remarked van Meurs.

The last three Games were held in Rome in 1995, Zagreb in 1999 and Catania (Italy) in 2003.

CISM was formed on February 18, 1948, with five founder members - France, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg - to stimulate a desire amongst the military to meet in sport arenas instead of battlegrounds.

Over the years, the membership has steadily increased with a present membership of 127 countries.