Ramstein hosts AIRCOM track and field championship

by Staff Sgt. Timothy Moore
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Athletes representing the U.S. Air Force pose for a team photo after the conclusion of the Allied Air Command Inter-Nation Athletics Championship June 21 on Vogelweh Military Complex. Both the men’s and women’s teams for the U.S. took first place in the competition. — Photo by Staff Sgt. Emesh Fernando

Usually when NATO nations come together, it’s to work together toward a common goal, but that wasn’t the case when six nations came together on Ramstein, June 20-21.

This time they were competing against each other as they worked toward a similar goal — victory in the NATO Allied Air Command Inter-Nation Athletics Championship.

More than 100 athletes representing the air forces from the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Poland, Belgium, and the Netherlands took part in the two-day competition on Ramstein and Volgeweh Military Complex.

The biennial event is a tradition of spirited competition established by the Second Allied Tactical Air Force more than 30 years ago. It provides an opportunity for NATO nations to demonstrate their commitment to sports and teamwork, while reinforcing respect and goodwill.

“(This is) a great opportunity for athletes of NATO nations to stand side by side competing in these types of sports programs the way we stand side by side in battle,” said Steven Lowe, 786th Force Support Squadron supervisory fitness and sports specialist and one of the organizers of the event.

Athletes competed against each other in events including the shot put, discus throw, javelin throw, long jump, high jump, 100-, 200-, and 400-meter dashes, 3K and 5K runs, and 4-by-100 and 4-by-400-meter relays.

“(My favorite part was) the camaraderie and the vast knowledge overload you get from all these great athletes coming together,” said Staff Sgt. Daniel Austin, 86th Aerospace Medicine Squadron bioenvironmental engineering technician and sprinter. “Even though this is a competition, this is a great team-building experience for the air forces. We are on the front lines building trust with our allies in a non-work environment.”

Though the event had many personal wins, including an International Association of Athletics Federation World Championship-qualifying high jump of 2.3 meters by German athlete Mateusz Przybylko, it was team USA that took home the overall win.

“This is a great stepping stone for athletes of all levels to set their sights on the next level, whether it be Worlds, (Conseil International du Sport Militaire), or another high-level event back at home station,” Lowe said. “This is the beginning of the track and field season.”

Results from the championship are in the table below.

For the full results, visit http://www.ramstein.af.mil/Portals/6/documents/AIRCOM_Track-Field_TeamResults21Jun17.pdf.