Military games: Russia fears tough contest from India

By RIA Novosti

Moscow : Russian team for the 2007 Military World Games, to be held in India, fears a tough competition from the host team in sailing sport.

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“For them (Indian team) the going will be simpler. They know all tides and currents. And their team is very strong anyway. In track and field India also boasts good athletes,” Alexander Romanov, one of the Russian team leaders told RIA Novosti.

In 2006 the Indian military sailing team in Mumbai surged ahead of Russia and Sri Lanka.

“India will again offer a strong competition against Russia in this kind of sport,” Romanov said.

A total of 129 Russian athletes, including Olympic and European champions, will take part in the games taking place in Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh.

“The Russian delegation will leave for Mumbai on Oct 12 aboard a special air force flight,” Romanov said. It consists of 182 people, including coaches, team managers, doctors, cooks and masseurs. Boxers and parachute-jumpers will arrive in India somewhat earlier.

“We are going to India to win,” Romanov said admitting that China is their main competitor.

“This year the main competitor for the Russian team will be China.”

“The climatic conditions in India are closer to China. In addition, China is making serious efforts to be well prepared for the Olympics in Beijing. Therefore, sports-wise that country is on the upsurge. And I think we will have a hard time trying to beat our main rivals,” Romanov said.

At the previous three games, held in Rome (1995), the Croatian capital Zagreb (1999) and in Sicily (2003), Russian army athletes won all team events, beating their Olympic archrivals – the US and China.

India, he believes, has been pro-active in international military sports in recent years.

“This is evident from the responsible way the Indians have been holding competitions and the rate at which they are doing it,” he said. “Last year I saw their pleasure in hosting a world sailing championship and our team in particular. I still have very warm memories of it.”