Interview With Brig. Gen. Jamil Megid, Coordinator General For The 5th Military World Games
By Dialogo July 27, 2011
It has taken more than 1,000 days of work, with 16-hour days in recent weeks. But Brig. Gen. Jamil Megid Junior, Coordinator General of the Operational Planning Committee for the 5th Military World Games – Rio 2011, does not expect things to let up anytime soon.
Even after all of the delegations go home, on July 27, his mission will still not be accomplished. Instead, it marks the beginning of the demobilization phase, followed by the preparation of reports and the rendering of accounts.
“There will be more work, but it will be a lot calmer,” Gen. Megid explained.
On the eve of the Rio 2011 closing ceremonies, Gen. Megid offered some of his time, which is in high demand, to speak with Diálogo. But the interview took place on the go, keeping pace with the considerable task of managing a workforce of 25,735 people.
The rain falling in Rio de Janeiro on the morning of July 23 brought Gen. Megid back to the field. He insisted on personally checking up on the grounds where the equestrian competition would be held, in order to insure that they were safe enough to avoid putting the competitors at risk. Between questions and answers, the attentive eye of the tireless man behind the 5th Military Games did not let any opportunity for improvement go unnoticed.
Diálogo: Brazil invested R$1.4 billion (US$900 million) in order to carry out the 5th Military World Games. What will be the legacy of this investment?
Brig. Gen. Jamil Megid Junior: If we consider the benefits for all of the communities surrounding the bases where some of the competitions were held, the legacy is the sports facilities, with the new infrastructure and the renovations that we carried out. And there is also the experience of preparing the athletes and organizing competitions. The International Military Sports Council (CISM) has a technical committee that came to Brazil to accompany our preparation and execution of the Games. All of the committee members, many of whom have worked with CISM for years and have seen a variety of World Championship and Olympic competitions, were unanimous in saying that the organization of the competition, the location and the officiating were the best that they had seen. This represents major gains for the preparation of Brazilian teams and the carrying out of high-performance competitions.
Diálogo: So the 5th Military World Games left Rio de Janeiro more prepared to host the Olympics in 2016?
Brig. Gen. Jamil Megid Junior: The planning nucleus for this edition of the Games was a military team that developed all of the projects, but the preparation and, primarily, the execution of these competitions were carried out in cooperation with military teams for different sports, federations and civilian businesses. So, everyone is learning through this experience, both from the military and the civilian perspective. Everybody wins. There was this integration and, without a doubt, this knowledge can be applied to other events, including the Olympic Games. It’s important to note that this experience wasn’t just restricted to the military.
Diálogo: Did this event bring the Armed Forces closer to the population?
Brig. Gen. Jamil Megid Junior: It wasn’t just the families living near the bases that knew about the Games. We got everyone talking about them. When we make tickets available on the Internet, to civilians and military personnel, we saw a considerable civilian turnout. And that’s a real source of satisfaction, because the Games are for society as a whole. That was the aim: to promote this integration and the understanding of military sports by the civilian public. Without a doubt, this is going to bring benefits in the future. Many of the children attending the events will want to join the military in order to be athletes, in order to practice the sport that they saw, such as the pentathlons, which got a lot of attention from the kids. It’s the type of benefit that you might not feel today, but that will have positive repercussions in the future.
Diálogo: Do you feel that the objectives that led Brazil to launch its candidacy to host this event, just over four years ago, have been achieved?
Brig. Gen. Jamil Megid Junior: The primary objectives were fully achieved. In keeping with the idea put forth by the CISM in previous editions, the aim was to raise awareness about military sports and further promote sports in Brazil. We had 111 participating nations. Many countries came with large delegations and strong athletes. The level of competition was high and we carried out a series of improvements on the sports facilities of the Brazilian Armed Forces, which will also serve the Olympic confederations. In addition, we developed a very strong partnership with the Brazilian Olympic Committee for the preparation of Olympic athletes from the military, who will go on to compete with the Brazilian national teams. Looking towards the future, it’s clear that by allowing our troops to train in more appropriate areas, with state-of-the-art sports equipment, we’re going to improve the fitness of our soldiers and their effectiveness in combat. Therefore, it was completely worth the effort.
Diálogo: Some of the spectators said that there wasn’t enough public awareness about the Games. Do you agree?
Brig. Gen. Jamil Megid Junior: In order to promote an event such as this one, the public usually has to have some form of prior knowledge, which they didn’t, or you can carry out a wide-ranging promotional campaign, which would have exceeded our budget. So, we did a mix of spontaneous media with an advertising campaign over the last three months in mainstream media outlets. And we reached our goal, since almost 90% of the tickets that we made available over the Internet were reserved by the civilian population. It was even more than we expected.
Diálogo: Did the foreign coverage of the event meet the CISM’s expectations?
Brig. Gen. Jamil Megid Junior: We produced a daily 15-minute bulletin that was available by satellite, and we were able to get TV stations from 120 countries to make use of that material. But the ideal situation would be a live broadcast of the Games in each country. That’s the objective that we hope to reach in the coming editions.
The Military Games were great. All initiatives and activities to improve the citizenâ€™s life are praiseworthy. Congratulations to everyone involved in the Games: organizers, athletes, publicity, etc. The legacy will certainly be a positive one for Brazil and for the Armed Forces. Bravo, ADSUMUS. Cynthia.
Thereâ€™s no doubt such a great event brings us cultural, social and economic enrichment; the armed forces together with the Brazilian government deserve congratulations. This step was simply the first of many other achievements by the Brazilian nation. Hosting military members from many countries in some way generates in us, both adults and children, a desire to accomplish much more! It's been four months now since the military world games, it was beautiful, but me and the other 400 drivers who made the event happen were not paid for it. Imagine the World Cup and Olympics, I'm out with the others. If I'm not getting paid I'd rather stay home.