21/11/2019 • Czech General Staff and the University of Defence are preparing the already twenty-sixth release of Winter Survival, 2020 Winter Outdoor Polyathlon Championships of the Army of the Czech Republic. The international competition puts the competing three-member military teams into a number of challenging events that are under preparation by the University of Defence’s Physical Training and Sports Centre.
The great variety of events that requires versatility from the soldiers complete the harsh conditions of Hruby Jesenik Mts. together with quickly changing weather. The soldiers know what they may expect though it is the action itself that thoroughly verifies their physical condition and mental strength along with their sense of team work. They will have to overcome fatigue, exhaustion or fear. Luck will play a role of itself. A minor mistake or a coincidence may even result in team withdrawal from the competition.
The competition tests the skills needed for soldiers to survive under winter conditions and makes them face various tasks and surprising situations that might appear during carrying out a real mission. The sophisticated disciplines egg the athletes on to making their own choices and being creative. “It was hard but the motivation was big. We are happy it was us who won this year. We had struggled since start and we were lucky too” reviewed captain Viktor Novotny the Winter Survival 2019 victory from the 7th mechanised brigade team leader.
In two months, the soldiers will move for four days covering many kilometres, climbing over rocks, crossing river gulches, going for a biathlon race and downhill skiing, administering first aid, shooting military arms and throwing dummy grenades for precision, sleeping two nights in the open air and completing the event tasks related to mental strength testing and surviving outdoor.
Sixty soldiers will come to participate in Winter Survival 2020 representing the Czech and foreign forces. Along with the sixteen Czech teams, one team will represent each armed forces of Austria, Germany, Poland and Slovakia. The University of Defence will have two teams in the competition.
Author: Pavel Pazdera, photo: UNOB archive