Photo Information

Service members from Sri Lanka stand in formation, ready to march on their national colors before the opening ceremonies of the 53rd World Military Boxing Championships, hosted aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Oct. 10. The ceremony was the beginning of a six day competition to showcase the different cultures and skill of boxers from 14 different countries including Barbados, Estonia, Sri Lanka, Brazil and the Republic of Guinea.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Damany S. Coleman

After more than six decades, CISM stands strong

18 Oct 2010 | Lance Cpl. Damany S. Coleman

This year marked the launch of the 53rd World Military Boxing Championship hosted by the Conseil International du Sport Militaire, (International Military Sports Council), aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune; another year added on to the rich, hearty history that gives testimony to the CISM’s motto, “Friendship through sport.”

“The CISM was created in 1948, just after the second World War,” said Dirk De Vos, adjutant chief of communications with the CISM. “Five countries came together and wanted to participate in sports because the war was over, and decided to make an organization out of it.”

The five founding nations were Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, with the first official CISM event being fencing matches in February of 1948. Although they were all initially European countries, they had plans to take the organization around the world.

Since then, the CISM has been constantly molded by its past presidents and officials who have taken the reigns over the years. In 1950, Argentina and Egypt joined in 1950, and in 1951 U.S.A. joined in as well. Then in 1952, Iraq, the Lebanon, Pakistan and Syria became members.

CISM has also played its role in world solidarity. CISM has implemented projects organized in conjunction with the International Olympic Committee, United Nations and the European Community. It has strived to make a working relationship with international federations as well as all international sports authorities. 

The CISM’s claim to fame, the Military World Games, began in 1995 in Rome. Today, CISM has maintained 133 member nations; 24 different sports; a jam packed world, continental and regional sports calendar; an intense level of competition and more world and continental champions than the CISM can keep track of.

“It was created solely to create a friendly relationship between the different armies in the military,” said De Vos. The motto is friendship through sport, instead of fighting, we’re going to meet each other on the sports field and we’re going to have fun.”

DeVos added that the CISM also gave the various athletes a visibility of the vast cultures, people and ways of life. Since some athletes are naturally more or less skilled than others, they all get to walk away with the experience

Navy Capt. Luiz Serrano, Chief of Mission for Brazil, said that even though the CISM takes part in training athletes around the world, organizing events; both humanitarian and athletic, it could be much larger if only it had the right amount of coverage from local and world media outlets.

“The CISM, in my opinion, should be supported by the media, especially during the championships,” said Serrano. “During the Military World games, we have about 111 different countries taking part in those games. It’s necessary for the media to try and cover everything that goes on.”

Suba Saty, U.S. Armed Forces Sports Secretariat added that some of the countries come together to compete, despite previous or even current conflicts with each other. Not only do they maintain their military bearing, they compete as brothers and sisters with the utmost sportsmanship and camaraderie. It is the CISM’s athletes that embody their motto, “Friendship through sport.”