• Lined-up soldiers and the lit fire acted in the opening ceremony on Sunday late afternoon in front of Ovcarna pod Pradedem military recreation facility for the international championship of the Czech Army in winter outdoor multi-event sport of Winter Survival 2020. Beautiful sunny weather welcomed the participants arrived in the highest Silesian mountains from five countries.
Fourteen Czech and four international teams have registered to the endurance competition. Within the Army of the Czech Republic, five teams represent the Land Forces, while the Air Force, Military Police, military schools, and Logistics Agency have sent two teams each to struggle. Training Command – Military Academy has one team to represent. The international teams have arrived from Austria, Germany, Poland and Slovakia. The Polish team consists of girls – Wroclaw Land Forces University students.
"Lessons learnt recently by the units engaged in the multinational missions confirm our plan to train selected units personnel in completing mission under very difficult conditions, similar to what you are going to do here. The picturesque but harsh mountains of Hruby Jesenik in winter shall truly and perfectly check your physical fitness and moral stamina. You will have to prove high level of abilities and skills in special physical training as well as fast individual will and sense of team work. Only those who have trained best can win but our appreciation and credits go to all of you who will finish the competition" said Major General Ivo Strecha, the director of the Force Development Division of the MoD, to more than fifty international championship participants at the opening ceremony. Along with him, Brigadier General Bohuslav Prikryl, the University of Defence rector-commandant also welcomed the teams to the mountains.
Today, the three-member military and police teams move from the Ovcarna hotel through the Velky Maj hilltop to the Dlouhe Strane lakes to go a cross-country ski race around the upper lake and free terrain downhill time trial to the lower one. From there the teams move eight kilometres to Svycarna chalet which is the place for the "Search in an Avalanche Area" activity. The movement ends at the Videlske Sedlo parking area. After the demanding twenty-seven kilometres of moving the teams will spend the first freezing night in the forest at Ztracena chalet.
Until Wednesday the teams will move on the hills of Hruby Jesenik Mountains on skis carrying all survivor equipment in the backpacks and climbing rocks, crossing gulches and streams, administering first aid, shoot at targets within a biathlon race or move a 200-kg burden at the distance of 10 metres. The entire event arranged by the University of Defence ends on Thursday with a ski relay race.
Author: Pavel Pazdera, WS 2020 press officer, photo: The Dung Nguyen