Feature: Chinese twin brothers take up the battle in International Army Games

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-04 18:13:50|Editor: Song Lifang
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by Xinhua writers Liu Xin, Li Yun

WUHAN, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- After ten-hours exhausting military training at an airborne camp in China's Central Hubei Province, Xu Zhongwei always falls instantly asleep.

"I'm even short of energy to send a WeChat message to my girlfriend," he said.

Since being enrolled in January to take part in the airborne platoon of the 2017 International Army Games (IAG), Xu and his twin brother Shaowei have not returned home to Anhui Province, neighboring Hubei.

China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force is organizing two competitions from July 30 to August 12 as part of the IAG.

The Aviadarts competition is being held in northeast China's Jilin Province, while the airborne platoon competition, in which brothers Xu are engaged, is ongoing in Hubei.

The Chinese air force has been invited to take part in the International Army Games hosted by the Russian defense ministry for three years. This is the first time for China to co-organize the games and for the twin brothers to compete in them. They hope to achieve success.

In 2013 when finishing the college entrance exam, the 17-year-old boys joined the PLA, dreaming of serving as soldiers. They were assigned to a scout troop attached to the airborne camp.

They were determined as the best scouts. Military swimming, downhill races, obstacle crossing...the brothers fought together side by side in daily training over the following years.

Looking back to the first 1,000 meters military swimming, Xu Zhongwei remembers the feeling of almost being suffocated.

"How could I give up when my younger brother did not stop?" he said.

Three years later in 2016, the brothers Xu heard outstanding soldiers were being selected to compete in the IAG. They applied without hesitation.

Going through assessments from the regiment and division, until selection in the whole army, the twins won tickets to the pre-game training team.

Their endurance was taken to the limit on multiple occasions, and they had only seven days off during six-months of high intensity training.

"We will be challenged by outstanding soldiers from other countries," Xu Zhongwei said. "Thus we have to be strict enough on ourselves."

The twin brothers continuously encourage each other.

They have devoted themselves to the training. Their parents once came to the camp in Hubei and stayed there for three days. But the time the family spent together was only about two hours.

The airborne platoon games contain three main events: combat, non-combat vehicle and base jumping.

Brothers Xu are scheduled to take part in the non-combat vehicle event with their 16 teammates.

Differing from games in previous years, the shooting distance in 2017 increased to 300 meters from 100 meters in the non-combat vehicle event. And the cross-country distance increased from 19 kilometers to 25 kilometers.

China dispatched 42 soldiers to the airborne platoon games this year. Such training intensity is common among Chinese soldiers who attend the IAG.

"We are confident that Chinese soldiers have advantages in physical agility, shooting skills and cooperative combat," Xu Shaowei said. "While we can learn combat effectiveness from other countries."

Xu Zhongwei has made an appointment to meet his girlfriend in late August.

"I believe that we will give her good news about our performance in the games," he said.

But unfortunately, during the parachuting training before the games, the older brother got a wrist fracture. Thus he became a substitute until his full recovery.

It is a huge pity for him. And the younger brother pledged to fight for him.

Shaowei is looking forward to his best performance, as well as exchanges with foreign participants from Iran, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Russia, South Africa and Venezuela.

During the non-combat vehicle event, Chinese soldiers will use domestic weapons, which are also provided to soldiers from Iran, South Africa, and Venezuela.

Shen Jinke, spokesperson for the PLA Air Force, said the games were expected to strengthen military exchanges and cooperation, and mutual trust and friendship among the participant countries.