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“I would like to announce that a new international public organization the ‘Tank Biathlon Federation’ was registered on August 1,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at the opening ceremony of the global military sports competition adding that the federation would boost the development of the tank biathlon worldwide and provide for its popularization.
The minister said also said that in the times of the complicated global situation such competitions would help to promote trust and mutual understanding between global armed forces and speak for Russia’s readiness to develop intergovernmental cooperation in the military sphere.
“The first ever Tank Biathlon World Championship kicks off today at the firing range in Alabino,” Shoigu said. “It may be said without any exaggerations that this event turns a new page in the international military cooperation.”
The tank biathlon runs on August 4-16 in Alabino, a town to the southwest of Moscow, and begins on Monday with the championship’s first stage, which is individual’s race consisting of three heats and runs on August 4-6.
The championship’s second stage, which is 3 km Sprint, runs on August 8-9 and the third stage, which is pursuit, runs on August 11-12.
All international crews were provided with Russia’s T-72B tanks, or Slingshot, according to NATO classification, while China brought their own tanks for the championship.
General Ivan Buvaltsev, the chief of the Russian armed forces' main department of combat training, said in early June that Russia provided six-week training for foreign tank crews intending to compete on Russian combat vehicles “just for equal opportunities to all the competitors.”
He also said that that this year infantry combat vehicles and airborne assault vehicles will compete along with the tanks.
The Tank Biathlon, which is analogous to the Olympic biathlon discipline, was invented by the Russian military and the first competition at the international level was held in August 2013 in Alabino with the participating crews from Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia.
According to the rules of tank biathlon, crews must navigate distances up to 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) evading various obstacles, crossing rivers and bridges and shoot at a set of targets. Tanks that miss a target get a penalty lap.