Tough championships finished in sunshine

The fourth and final day of competition was intensive with a lot of tough disciplines in strong winds and high waves; but the sun broke through at last and the winds dropped somewhat. The remaining 11 disciplines could be completed at last and the competitors were able to show in the championships what capable lifesavers, as well as sportsmen and women, they are.

The Championships finished in the sunshine with the "Ocean Relay" discipline. Photo: Charlotte Pettersson /Försvarsmakten
Julia Schatz, Germany, dominated the women's competition during the last day of WMLC 16, with 3 individual discipline wins. Photo: Christian Lövgren /Försvarsmakten
- Oisin Mcgrath from Ireland found the right waves in the "Board Race Men" discipline and gained a gold medal. Photo: Christian Lövgren /Försvarsmakten
Tough fight for the "flag" in the "Beach Flags Men" discipline … Photo: Christian Lövgren /Försvarsmakten
… and also in the "Beach Flags Women"! Photo: Christian Lövgren /Försvarsmakten
Mattias Jonsson surfs in with a second place in the "Surf Ski" discipline just in front of Oisin Mcgrath of Ireland Photo: Christian Lövgren /Försvarsmakten
In the "Board Rescue" discipline, a two man team competes where one member swims out and then is taken back on a board by his/her teammate. Photo: Christian Lövgren /Försvarsmakten
The waves sometimes reached 2 meters during the day's competitions. Photo: Charlotte Pettersson /Försvarsmakten
Dirk Schwede, Chairman of CISM Europe, is very pleased with this years championships where all the competitors really got the chance to show their lifesaving competence. Photo: Charlotte Pettersson /Försvarsmakten
”Friendship through sports” is the motto for CISM. Photo: Charlotte Pettersson /Försvarsmakten

"I love it here when there is a lot of wind and waves" says Julia Schatz from Germany, after deservedly taken home the gold medal in the "Ocean Woman" discipline. In this particular discipline many of the competitor's abilities are tested when they swim, paddle kayak and surfboard as well as running a length along the beach. The competitors are on the go for about 20 minutes, which tests the men and women in those conditions which are present during the day's competitions.

"Today it required stamina and it was a deciding factor in how good one is at reading, capturing and surfing the waves", explains Julia Schatz who has trained in Australia for a whole year in order to learn from the best. "It is the beach activities that I enjoy the most and that I am the best at, I had great fun today!"

The master of the waves

Another competitor who conquered the ability to surf the waves was Oisin Mcgrath, who is returning to Ireland with a gold and a bronze medal in the "Board Race" and the "Surf Ski" disciplines. "I am both very pleased and tired after 3 finals today!  When I came here I didn't really know what to expect as it is the first time I have competed in a military championships in lifesaving, but the level of the competitors is certainly high and the conditions tougher than I thought".

In the final of "Surf Ski", Oisin Mcgrath competed amongst others against Mattias Jansson who produced the performance of a lifetime which was enough for a silver medal;

"It feels really fantastic to complete a race where everything goes according to plan even in these tough conditions! Every wave nearly knocked me off the rescue kayak. I took it fairly steady at the start and at the turn.  Then on the way home I managed to find and take the waves which meant that I could surf past both the Dutchman and the Irishman"

Successful debut for Sweden as organiser

Sweden and The Air Defence Regiment have now carried out military world championships in lifesaving for the first time - a tournament which has been appreciated by competitors and organisers alike.

"I know how difficult it is to arrange a big tournament in such weather conditions and I really think that Sweden has managed extremely well", says Oisin Mcgrath. 

"In addition, everything has been done in a hospitable, helpful and friendly atmosphere. I really appreciate that!"

"The Swedish Armed Forces has prepared these championships really well", emphasizes Dirk Schwede, Chairman of the International Military Sports Council (CISM) in Europe. "They have also shown a lot of flexibility, will and the ability to carry out and complete the championships even though the weather conditions have changed.

Not only medals

Now the championships are over, nearly all the competing nations are taking medals home. But the medals are not the only important thing. The motto of CISM is "Friendship through sport".

"I cannot be anything other than pleased", says Jesper Lindberg, the competition organiser.

"In the end the sun came out and the tournament finished in the best way. We have done everything we possibly could taking into account the outside influences, but perhaps the most important thing I think is that we have managed to create a friendly atmosphere where we have socialized as friends and that is really why we are here!"