Novi Travnik competes with Sydney
By 1Lt. Kristoffer Egeberg
First published in
SFOR Informer #98, October 11, 2000
Novi Travnik -The German soldier looses his balance as the Federation
Army soldier storms past. As the ball hits the net, not far away a group
of marksmen squeeze their triggers, sending full metal jackets towards
two months, team commander of the Dutch Bravo Team 101 Mechanised Battalion
RHPA, Maj. Jack Huijben, together with the rest of the Dutch Battle Group
in Novi Travnik, planned and prepared the Novi Travnik Games. The games
were a challenge in both sports and military crafts, given to their allied
colleagues in the Multinational Division Southwest (MND-SW). The two components
of the Federation Army of BiH (ABIH) were invited.
together six soldier-delegations attended, representing the UK, Czech
Republic, Germany, the Federation Army, and of course the Netherlands.
Each delegation had specialised teams for each event.
At the Travnik range, the marksmen teams concentrated on hitting targets
up to 550 meters away. The targets at Novi Travnik range stood much closer
to the competitors in the pistol shooting contest. The fast-legged soldiers
had a 12-kilometer road race, and in the sports hall of Novi Travnik,
teams battled for goals in the football tournament. Last but definitively
not least, soldiers armed with semiautomatic paintball guns slaughtered
each other for flags in the newly built paintball field at the Dutch Battle
"At this moment, the Olympic games in Sydney is going on. Their main
thought is that participation is more important than winning. Let this
be the main thought at the Novi Travnik Games as well," said Lt.
Col. Wouter Sleurink at the opening ceremony. Bringing soldiers
together to achieve mutual respect and understanding was a foreseen victory.
Therefore, in the Novi Travnik Games, points and goals are of a less importance.
is a good opportunity for us to meet, and get in better contact with the
Bosnian Croat part of our army. You see, in games it is possible, while
in politics it is hard," said Bosnian Capt. Grabus Salih from the
7th Mechanised ABIH Brigade in Zenica. "We should do this more often
in the future."
That is also the hope of Huijben. The idea for the Novi Travnik games
came up during a conversation between him and the former commander of
MND-SW, Maj. Gen. Robin Brims.
"We wanted to get the battle groups together and maybe invite the
ABIH as well. We did this to create mutual respect and understanding between
us," he said. Huijben decided to organise the event, and now, after
the success it became, he wants to pass the torch on to his successor.
is a beginning and I hope we can continue. Maybe one event each mission,
which means two events each year," he said.
The games ended with a barbecue in the Dutch base. All delegations were
treated as winners and awarded a plaque for their efforts in making the
day memorable. In sporting terms, a hat-trick was achieved by overcoming
the challenges in sports, military discipline, and creating mutual respect
between the parties.
Nations of SFOR: Netherland