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Sporty soldier in task tests.

A SOLDIER has told of his experiences in a gruelling military sports contest.

Gunner Darren Harrison, 17, of North Shields Coordinates:

North Shields (or locally just Shields) is a town on the north bank of the River Tyne, in the metropolitan borough of North Tyneside, in North East England. It is located eight miles (13 km) east of Newcastle upon Tyne.
, was part of a 12-man squad taking part in Exercise Sheldrake Gladiator gladiator

(Latin; swordsman)

Professional combatant in ancient Rome who engaged in fights to the death as sport. Gladiators originally performed at Etruscan funerals, the intent being to give the dead man armed attendants in the next world.
, an event organised by troops in Germany.

Teams competed in a variety of tough military disciplines such as shooting, navigation, command tasks and battle casualty treatment.

There were also more traditional sports such as six-a-side football, basketball, rugby, hockey, golf and a tug-of-war.

Former Norham Community Technology College student Darren, of the 4th Regiment Royal Artillery 94 Battery, helped his team finish eighth overall and winners of the rugby event and runners-up in the command tasks event.

He said: "The exercise has been tough, but I am really learning a lot.

"The team building is also really important. We must all be able to trust the other guys on operations to know their strengths and weaknesses so we can do the best job possible."

Sheldrake Gladiator provided vital operational training, making the challenges as difficult as possible.

The Command Tasks included a scenario in which a toxic barrel had to be removed from a mine field without anyone either touching it or entering the field.

The four-day event also included cross country day and night-time orienteering orienteering

Cross-country footrace in which each participant uses a map and compass to navigate between checkpoints along an unfamiliar course. Introduced in Sweden in 1918, it later spread throughout Europe. World championships have been held since 1966.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 9, 2009
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