International military personnel battle it out on sports field
August 15, 1999
From Correspondent Patricia Kelly
ZAGREB, Croatia (CNN) -- Some 8,000 military personnel from 80 countries came face to face in Zagreb this week -- and neither NATO nor the United Nations sent peacekeepers.
The army, navy and air force personnel met in athletic arenas instead of on battlefields, and the starting gun was the only kind of gunfire they heard.
Unless, of course, they were competing on the firing range.
The occasion was the second World Military Games, with events designed to test military skills as much as traditional track, field and swimming competitions.
The medals that count in Zagreb are Olympic-style -- gold, silver and bronze -- not the military variety.
An amphibious cross-country race was the fifth and final event in the naval pentathlon, which also included running, shooting and a simulated hand grenade toss.
The U.S. Navy men's team and its women's team took gold in the pentathlon. But it's a close contest between Russia and China as to whose armed forces will win the most medals overall.
The International Military Sports Council (CISM) organized the Zagreb games to follow up on the success of the 1995 World Military Games held in Rome.
The CISM has hosted military athletic competitions for 51 years, growing from five countries in 1948 to 118 in 1999.
Zagreb World Military Games site
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