By James Crook

123828928March 6 - Ski orienteering will open the International Military Sports Council (CISM) World Winter Games 2013 in Annecy in the French region of Rhône-Alpes later this month, with the biggest names in the sport vying for medals.

Ski orienteering is a traditional Scandinavian sport originating in Sweden in the 19th century when it served as a military exercise, which rose to prominence in France in the 1980's.

Competitors must navigate an unfamiliar course on skis with just a map and a compass for company, passing by control points in a specified order with the aim of completing the course as quickly as possible.

119687338Annecy in France will play host to the 2013 CISM World Military Games

Competitors must be in peak condition to handle the sport's unique combination of mental and physical demands

The second CISM World Military Games, which are due to open on March 25, will play host to the individual middle distance race and a mass start relay atop Le Semnoz, with the world's finest competitors taking part, such as France's François Gonon, who won gold at the 2012 Ski Orienteering World Championships and Kazakhstan's Olga Novikova, winner of four gold medals at her home Asian Games in Almaty in 2011.

The events are due to take place on March 26 and 27.

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