World Military Games open

On Sunday, India’s President Pratibha Devisingh Patil declared the week-long Fourth Military World Games opened. The event takes place in Hyderabad, capital city of the state of Andhra Pradesh.

Close to 6,000 athletes from 106 countries including Iran are taking part in the sporting extravaganza, which boasts at total of 1,076 medals in different games and sports.

A total of 13 disciplines – Pentathlon, Shooting, Parachuting, Athletics, Triathlon, Swimming, Sailing, Boxing, Wresting, Judo, Football, Handball and Volleyball – are being held. Hockey and kabaddi were cancelled due to ‘lack of participation’.

Five countries are participating as observers in this event. This is the first time the games are taking place outside of Europe. The games are considered the second biggest sporting event after the Olympics.

The Conseil International du Sport Militaire, or CISM, founded in 1948, can be best described as the military equivalent of the International Olympic Committee.

The CISM Military World Games debuted in Rome in 1995 and are held every four years, a year prior to the Olympics. They were hosted in 1999 by Zagreb, Croatia and in 2003 by Catania, Italy. Brazil will host the next Games in 2011.

The 4th World Military Games in Hyderabad and Mumbai will conclude on October 21.