In three individual races, the Serbian Armed Forces team showed enviable skills in driving, obstacle crossing and precision shooting, which brought them to the semifinals.
Commander of the 2nd Army Brigade, Brigadier General Željko Kuzmanović, who leads our tank crew and is a referee at this year's International Army Games, is pleased with the result achieved.
- The first phase of the Tank Biathlon showed that all the participating countries prepared their tank crews in a quality manner so that the competition was extremely strong. Unlike in previous competitions, this time fractions of a second decided on who would advance to the semi-finals. We also noticed mistakes and omissions made by members of our crews, which we will endeavour to eliminate to make the success of our team even greater – Brigadier General Kuzmanović said.
Lieutenant Colonel Rade Adamović, team leader for the Tank Biathlon and the competition chief referee, explains that this year the teams are divided into two groups according to quality and that, unlike in the previous years, the semi-final group consists of eight, rather than 12 teams.
- The characteristic of this year's competition is that the world record was broken and that most teams have achieved the best results ever since the competition has been held. Our performance in individual races was marked by the desire, will and perseverance of crew members to overcome the problems they had, which led them to the semi-finals. I am sure that we will prepare well for the semi-final race, too, and do our best and even more than that, in order to achieve the best possible result - Lieutenant Colonel Adamović underlined.
The Tank Biathlon is one of 32 military disciplines at this year's 5th International Army Games, which are being held simultaneously in 21 training ranges in 10 countries,: Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, China. Mongolia and Uzbekistan, from 3rd to 17th August. The number of participants exceeds 5,000, comprising 223 teams coming from 39 countries of Europe, Asia, Africa, Central and South America.
According to the rules, each army takes part with three tank crews in individual qualifying races, while there is also one reserve crew. Their task is to cross the track in the shortest possible time and solve challenging but difficult tasks: master the manoeuvring grounds, the so-called "snake", fill up the revolving transport, shoot from the cannon, cross a water barrier, overcome a hill, make it through an anti-tank trench, a concrete bridge, the "comb" and a minefield, master a steep slope, cross the escarpment (90-centimetre tall vertical wall) and shoot targets from the tank cannon, coupled, and anti-aircraft machine gun. Adding up time of all three crews from this first phase of the competition determines the most successful eight teams that go to the semi-finals.
The Serbian Armed Forces team is continuing its participation in the Tank Biathlon on 10th August in the semi-finals, in a group with China, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, while Russia, Belarus, Mongolia and Venezuela make up the other semi-final group. The tank biathlon ends on 17th August when the winners will be announced during the closing ceremony of this year's International Army Games.
During the Games, the participating countries also presented the peculiarities of their cultural identity in the House of Friendship at the Alabino Ranges. At the National Culture Festival, Serbia is represented by four members of the Stanislav Binički Art Ensemble, who will take part in both the festival and the competing segments.
The first International Army Games were organized in 2015, at the initiative of Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, and the event is among the largest military-sports competitions in the world. The opening ceremony of this year's military games was also attended by the Chief of the General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces, General Milan Mojsilović.
Serbian Armed Forces representatives participate in the 2019 International Army Games in three disciplines: Tank Biathlon, Military Rally and Sniper Border. The first two take place in Russia and the third in Belarus.
The biggest successes so far achieved by members of the Serbian Armed Forces was in 2015, when they won 3rd place in the tank biathlon behind Russia and China, and last year in the sniper border competition Lieutenant Đorđe Lapčević won the first place competing with 18 mixed sniper pairs .