Annecy preparing to welcome nearly 1,000 athletes for World Military Winter Games
Sunday, 23 September 2012
September 23 - Next year's CIPSM World Winter Games in Annecy will be the largest military sports event to be held in France with nearly 1,000 athletes from 40 countries due to take part.
Colonel Hamad Kalkaba Malboum, President of the International Military Sports Council (CISM), and General Jean-René Bachelet, President of Annecy 2013, officially signed the agreement at a special ceremony in the French city.
The event, which is due to take place next year between March 25 and 29, will be only the second time that the Winter Games have been held, following Aoste in Italy three years ago.
Annecy was awarded the event last year ahead of Sochi, host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.
"For this first visit, we're delighted to see that everything is right on track at just six months from the opening of the Games," said Mallboum.
"The entire Organising Committee team is doing a tremendous job.
"The event venues are top notch, the surroundings magnificent, and it's a pleasure to see so much support from public authorities."
The Games will start with an Opening Ceremony on the banks of Annecy.
Among the venues due to be used are Chamonix Mont-Blanc, Le Grand Bornand and La Clusaz, some of which would have been used if Annecy's bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics had been successful.
Competition is expected to be of a high level as 56 medal winners at the last Olympics in Vancouver had military backgrounds.
There are six sports on the programme: Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, ski mountaineering, ski orienteering, indoor climbing and short-track speed skating.
"It's a great honour to have the CISM entrust us with organising the second World Winter Games in Annecy, here in the heart of the French Alps," said Jean- Luc Riigautt, the Mayor of Annecy.
"Sport is second nature to us.
"Just think of the Haute-Savoie champions, many with military training, who have made their mark in international sport - athletes like cross country skiing champion Vincent Vittoz, vice-president of Annecy 2013, Sandrine Bailly, Tessa Worley, and others.
"I'm certain that the entire French contingent and all the other great athletes in competition at the Games will put on a fabulous show."
The Games, which have a budget of €3 million (£2.4 million/$4 million), have been funded with support from the French Government, Haute Savoie General Council and the City of Annecy, along with Rhône-Alpes Regional Council and a number of private sponsors.
All the events will be free to the public.
"It's also an opportunity to showcase the history of our region," added Christian Monteil, President of the Haute Savoie General Council.
"The region was a stronghold of the French Resistance and has strong ties with the military as the historic home of several elite combat units."