Kakadu nations speak the same sporting language

This article has photo gallery Published on FLTLT Tritia Evans (author), LSIS Justin Brown (photographer)

Location(s): Darwin, Northern Territory

Topic(s): Exercise KAKADU

Airmen/women from Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) compete against the crew from HMAS Glenelg in a game of Beach Volleyball during the Exercise KAKADU Sports day held at Defence Establishment Berrima. (photo: LSIS Justin Brown)
Airmen/women from Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) compete against the crew from HMAS Glenelg in a game of Beach Volleyball during the Exercise KAKADU Sports day held at Defence Establishment Berrima.

On the hot and humid sports fields of Defence Establishment Berrimah, Northern Territory, 300 military personnel from eight countries battled for the honours at the Exercise KAKADU 2016 All Ranks Sports Day.

Navy’s Fleet Sports Officer and event organiser, Chief Petty Officer Physical Training Instructor Stuart Rowe, said the teams battling out would vie for the KAKADU Shield.

“A sports day during a military exercise is more than just a friendly competition. In this heat and humidity, we can test our sailors’ resilience and endurance and ability to work as a team,” he said.

“At sea and in the air, you are constantly tested and you have to learn how to bounce back and play on.”

Another goal for the day was to encourage social interaction and develop an esprit de corps between sports men and women from the participating nations.

“Sports days are a great way to progress the multi-national force integration in a relaxed environment, with goodwill on both sides, before the ships set to sea and conduct war fighting scenarios,” Chief Petty Officer Rowe said.

From the international banter in the queue for the sausage sizzle, to friendly rivalry and cheering on the sidelines, the sports day brought some interesting challenges. For example, Australian sailors explaining the rules of touch football to keen Japanese players who speak little English reminded everyone to slow down and be clear communicators.

The sports were chosen to be inclusive of the counties visiting for the exercise including futsal and softball (Japan, Singapore and Malaysia); beach volleyball (United States and Canada); and touch football, giving the host nation no hometown advantage.

That said, the Aussies came out on top, as winners of the round robin competition, the team from the HMAS Newcastle Task Group took the shield to sea for the first time.