10/02/2019 • It is Thursday 31 January 2019 afternoon in the Jesenik Mountains and all has got quiet. Four days of tough struggle to beat nature's traps, the challenges of events and to push own limits are over for the military Winter Survival 2019 participants. After the final stage, the Czech teams occupy the top positions while the Slovaks end third.
The Army of the Czech Republic International Outdoor Polyathlon Winter Survival 2019 arranged by the University of Defence for the Czech military forces, thoroughly tested soldiers' skills learnt in special physical training courses and military training, as well as their ability of fast and right decision making in mission accomplishment. Sixteen out of nineteen teams were able to finish the competition.
Two times the competition looked at the history of Winter Survival events. The hosts intended to remind the quarter century anniversary of the challenging competition as well as the anniversary of the first international military ski races for military teams held in February 1924 in Zelezna Ruda town.
The matter of the last competition events was primarily being fast in slalom skiing and in good shape in climbing up the downhill skiing track. Two teams withdrew from the Thursday start for health reasons, namely the teams for Austrian 26th mountain infantry battalion and Czech 153rd engineer battalion. The climbing and parallel slalom legs took place in Karlov pod Pradědem. The kings of the parallel slalom were the Slovak 5th special operation team members far ahead of other teams.
The 25th Army of the Czech Republic International Outdoor Polyathlon Winter Survival 2019 winners are captain Viktor Novotný, SFC Josef Zlámal and CPL Milan Wurst for the 7th mechanised brigade team. "It was tough but the motivation was high. We are glad that our team won this year. We did our best from the beginning and also were lucky" assessed captain Viktor Novotný the result. The teams for the 7th mechanised brigade have ranked among the best in Winter Survival regularly with a three-straight victories since 2014 and a second place last year.
Silver medals were won by 1LT Matěj Picka, CPL Tomáš Bobek and PFC Vojtěch Neumann for the 13th artillery regiment. SFC Martin Dlhopolec, SGT Vladimír Šooš and CPL Michal Rajniak for the Slovak 5th special operations regiment won the bronze medals. "It was a fierce fight until the end. We are very happy for the third place" said SFC Martin Dlhopolec. He appreciated organisers' work who arranged a good competition. The University of Defence teams ranked 12th and 13th.
The trophies to the winning teams were presented by the deputy chief of general staff – Joint Operation Centre director Major General Jiří Verner, University of Defence rector-commandant Brigadier General Bohuslav Přikryl, deputy governor Jan Krkoška, Military Technical Institute director Jiří Protiva and the championship partners' representatives. The ceremony took place in front of the spa mansion Libuše in Karlova Studánka Spa, watched by the spa visitors and residents.
Author: Pavel Pazdera, WS 2019 press officer, photo: Jiří Pařízek