By Tom Degun

Rio_2011Military_Games_13-07-11July 14 - Rio de Janeiro is set to face an early test of its credentials to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games as the Brazilian city gears up to stage the fifth Military World Games this weekend.

The Military World Games are a multi-sport event exclusively for military sports-people, while the 2011 edition of the competition in Rio, which will take start on Saturday (July 16) and last until July 24, will be the largest military sport event ever in Brazil.

The competition has received huge support from senior figures in the Brazilian Government including the Secretary of State for Tourism, Sport and Recreation Márcia Lins.

"The Military World Games are beyond the military sphere," she said.

"They came to address peace and the sport leads it all.

"We will have Olympic athletes who are worth watching, competing in professional arenas.

"The movement of population is essential.

"The Opening Ceremony will have to have effective participation in society.

"This force coming from the Peace Games is fundamental to understanding the reason why we concentrate so many efforts to organise so many sporting events in Brazil."

The event will see approximately 6,000 athletes from over 100 countries compete across 20 sports, the majority of which are Olympic sports.

Athletics, basketball, beach volleyball, boxing, equestrian, fencing, football, judo, modern pentathlon, sailing, shooting, swimming, taekwondo, triathlon and volleyball are all on the sports programme.

The only non-Olympic sports to feature are aeronautical pentathlon, military pentathlon, naval pentathlon, orienteering and parachuting.

The 47,000 João Havelange Olympic Stadium, which is due to host the athletics competitions at the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics, will be the main stadium to the event although the capacity will be increased to 60,000 before 2016.

Ruy Cezar, the Special Secretary assigned for Rio 2016, said of the event: "It is a harmonic movement, whose command is the Military Organisation.

"The city of Rio is just the stage for this great event."

Rio won the right to stage the prestigious event, which is held every four years, in May 2007 after seeing off a challenge from Turkey.

Representatives from over 75 countries took part in the vote where Rio's major sports infrastructure, the Brazilian expertise at hosting major events and the support granted to the project by the local authorities played a major role in securing Rio the event.

It was over two years later at the 121st International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session held in Copenhagen in Denmark in October 2009 that the city was awarded the right to stage the 2016 Olympics.

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