By Zhang Shengtao, Zhou Yuan and Cheng Xiaodong
The International Army Games 2021 (IAG), known as the "Olympics in the military field", was partly held in Korla, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, from August 22 to September 4. In the Nuclear Biological and Chemical (NBC) Reconnaissance contest of the "Safe Environment" event, the Chinese team won first places in the individual race, the shooting race and the relay race.
For Liu Shun, a participant of the Safe Environment event and a private first class assigned to a combined-arms brigade under the PLA 81st Group Army, the competition days were unforgettable. Born in 1998, he was the lowest-ranked soldier among all the participants, and it was the first time for him to participate in the IAG. Even so, as the commander and scout of the No.2 vehicle of the Chinese team, he and his teammates won three individual championships in the Safety Environment event.
To win the championship is not easy. During the preparations, Liu and his teammates got soaked in the training field every day and wore airtight anti-virus suits to practice poisons observation, determination and detection. They would get up one hour earlier every day and increase the physical training. They would practice hundreds of times for each subject. Four pairs of combat boots, several camouflage suits and anti-virus suits had been worn out due to the high-intensity training, and a thick layer of calluses were left in his middle and index fingers due to the long-term griping of guns.
"Winning the championship is just the starting point. What I value more is to accurately detect poisons on the battlefield in the future and to protect my comrades," 23-year-old Liu said in an interview with the media after the competition, conveying the maturity beyond his age and the commendable sobriety.
"Achievements will always represent the past, and we still need to reflect in order to make greater progress," instructor Duan Xiaohu said after the Safe Environment event.
The competition venue is like the battlefield, and consistent training is the ticket to winning on the battlefield. Only by following actual combat needs, can we deepen military training and actual combat preparations.
According to Chinese instructor Song Wei, the competition rules have changed this year. In the chemical reconnaissance area, the 12 chemical agent detector tubes issued in previous years have been reduced to 9. This means the reconnaissance soldiers have no surplus tubes during the identification of the poisons types that are randomly deployed in the venue. Once there is a mistake, the determination of the poisons will not be completed. In the radiation reconnaissance operation area, the identification tags can be deemed as valid within the deviation of 5cm from the radioactive source in the previous years, while the rules of this year require that the tags must be accurately placed to overlap with the radiation point without any deviation.
"Such kinds of adjustment are normal in the IAG venues," said Wu Xueping, assistant to the chief referee of the Korla competition area. The display time for random targets has changed from the fixed eight seconds to a range of six to eight seconds, which greatly increased the difficulty of shooting, said Wu.
One participant said that in the face of the ever-changing competition venue, he did have the idea of "not adapting" at first, but the pre-match training made him understand that he can't just focus on the arena. What he must remember is that the ultimate goal of the competition is the battlefield. The more flexible and changeable the setting of the competition is, the more conducive it is to the troops.
The IAG this year has come to an end with many thoughts left. As one commander said, it is good to win championships and medals, but it is even more valuable to keep a clear mind. "If you want to win the combat in the future, you must focus on the overall situation and the future, truly transforming the competition advantage into the combat advantage and turning the gold medal into the ace of battlefield victory."