Women could be great Navy SEALs, says head of Special Ops

From Yahoo news

The head of Special Operations Forces (SOF) says he supports the integration of women into the elite force.

“It’s time to do this,” says the organization’s top officer, Adm. William McRaven.

“We’ve had women supporting direct Special Operations for quite some time,” he added in remarks Tuesday morning at the Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict conference in Washington.

The necessity, he said, is ensuring that all special operators are in peak physical condition. “The one thing we want to make sure [we do is] we maintain our standards,” McRaven said.

It’s a sentiment echoed among current and former special operators.

Retired Lt. Col. Gary Sargent, a former SOF officer, says he supports integrating women into SOF, as long as they meet the physical requirements.

As a special operator in Haiti in the 1990s, for example, he recalls lugging 140 pounds of gear. His radio operator carried considerably more, says Mr. Sargent, who is now director of business development for Asymmetric Technologies.

The physical requirements of Ranger School, or even infantry basic training, are considerable, and only a limited number of women are likely to qualify, current SOF operators warn.

The question, Sargent says, is whether lawmakers – alarmed that more women don’t meet rigorous physical standards to be infantry or special operators, for instance – become tempted to lower them.

Col. Ingrid Gjerde, an officer in the Norwegian infantry for 25 years and commander of Norwegian forces in Afghanistan in 2012, says the physical standards are something that female troops in Norway have fought to uphold.

“I have to be very clear: You have to meet the physical standards, because the job is still the same,” she says. “It works very well as long as women hold the standards.”

Because the physical standards are clear, she says, the “few women” who are attracted to serve in the infantry and cavalry “do a great job in the Norwegian Army.” She adds, “We would like to have more, but we have trouble attracting them.”

For this reason, Gjerde says, some Norwegian politicians have pushed for specific shares or percentages of women within the ranks. She says that she and other female troops have pushed back. “We have to be careful with that,” she says.

Currently, women make up less than 5 percent of the troops in her infantry units. The fact that women are serving has not discouraged men from joining the ranks of these same elite units, she adds.

McRaven said that he has been reading recent Pentagon guidance about establishing “gender-neutral standards.”

Currently, he said, “we have no gender standards,” since it is only males who have been going through Ranger and Navy SEAL training, for example.

It’s important that there is not a two-tiered standard of physical requirements going forward, he adds.

That said, McRaven says he has no doubt that some women will flourish in the elite SOF community. “I guarantee you” that there will be females who come to the basic underwater demolition (BUD/S), the Navy SEAL course, “and do a phenomenal job.”


Runners fair play

Fair playVery little has been said about this…..On December 2, Basque athlete Iván Fernández Anaya was competing in a cross-country race in Burlada, Navarre. He was running second, some distance behind race leader Abel Mutai – bronze medalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the London Olympics. As they entered the finishing straight, he saw the Kenyan runner – the certain winner of the race – mistakenly pull up about 10 meters before the finish, thinking he had already crossed the line.

Fernández Anaya quickly caught up with him, but instead of exploiting Mutai’s mistake to speed past and claim an unlikely victory, he stayed behind and, using gestures, guided the Kenyan to the line and let him cross first.

Ivan Fernandez Anaya, a Basque runner of 24 years who is considered an athlete with a big future (champion of Spain of 5,000 meters in promise category two years ago) said after the test:

“But even if they had told me that winning would have earned me a place in the Spanish team for the European championships, I wouldn’t have done it either. I also think that I have earned more of a name having done what I did than if I had won. And that is very important, because today, with the way things are in all circles, in soccer, in society, in politics, where it seems anything goes, a gesture of honesty goes down well.”

Triathlon Australia’s Next Generation

Liam Bromilow | Photography: Delly Carr/triathlon.org at Water Sport News

With the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio now the central focus of Triathlon Australia’s high performance program, we got our man Liam Bromilow to take a look at the talent emerging from the under-23 and junior ranks.

With the current slide down the rankings that Australia’s triathlon elite are experiencing, it’s hard to see light at the end of the tunnel. But, believe it or not, the next generation of triathlon superstars are just around the corner.

The talent pool for both male and female is as rich as the old guard’s crown of jewels. We take a look at the rising stars with no limits, who whether young or not have their eyes firmly set upon Rio 2016.

Triathlon elite for this younger generation is broken into junior (under 19) and Under 23. With the advent of the National Talent Academies (NTA – an initiative brought in by Triathlon Australia in recent years) the cream of the crop are being nurtured under the guidance of Australia’s best coaches such as Olympians Craig Walton and Jan Rehula.

To enter into this talented realm the athletes have swim and run performance indicators they must meet and maintain, and by doing so are set upon a path to hopefully achieve the great heights realised by those before them.

So who is this Generation Next?

Under-23 Males

Aaron Royle

The under-23 world champion from 2012 in Auckland is arguably the brightest prospect on the men’s side at present. Based at the New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS), this exceptional swimmer has the talent to mix it with the big guns in the World Triathlon Series (WTS). Definitely one to watch in 2013 as he follows the WTS around the world, and with an improving run leg, Royle is expected to find his way into the top-10 at some of these big races sooner rather than later.

Ryan Fisher

This Brisbane-based young gun was almost lost to triathlon, as he showed significant prowess growing up playing soccer. From the Dan Atkins-stable, Fisher is as hard as nails, and has shown great potential, winning previous Australian junior and under-23 titles. Another notable swimmer, he’s sure to be at the pointy end out of the water in WTS events this season.

Ryan Bailie

Another NSWIS product, but hailing originally from Western Australia, Bailie has power on the bike and backs it up with a potent run leg. A 10th place at the 2012 Under-23 World Championship is sure to earn him on a few starts in WTS events this season.

Kenji Nener

Hailing from Perth, NTA athlete Nener graduate from the Juniors into Under-23s this season with a killer run leg in his arsenal. Being one of the shortest triathletes in the bunch, Nener possesses a fierce attitude and is going to be one to watch at the Australian Sprint Championships in Geelong next month. Nener finished 14th in the Junior World Championship in Auckland last year, so it’s going to be interesting to watch his progression this season as he steps up to regular ITU World Cup racing.

Marcel Walkington

Emerging from the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS), Walkington was the 2011 Australian Junior Triathlon Series Champion and 2012 OTU Oceania Junior Sprint Champion. Walkington finished sixth last year in the Junior World Championship race in Auckland and was the highest-placed Australian. An outstanding swimmer with bike and run abilities to match, Walkington, or ‘Chuckles’, as he is affectionately known among his VIS peers, is one of Australia’s hottest triathlon prospects for the future.


Under-23 Females

Ashlee Bailie

The younger of the notable ‘Team Bailie’ (Ashlee is the younger sister of Under-23 male, Ryan), Ashlee Bailie is a rising star who won silver at the 2011 Junior World Championships. The quietly spoken talent has a vicious bike/run combination, and on a tough course could be a real handful this season on the ITU WTS if given a berth.

Charlotte McShane

This exciting prospect trains at the NSWIS and experienced her first WTS race at Sydney in 2012. McShane has a fierce run leg, which helped her achieve to two fourth places last season at Tiszaujvaros and Tongyeong World Cups. 

Natalie Van Coevorden

The talented Van Coevorden only began triathlon in 2010, but raised the bar last year. She began her year at Mooloolaba, finishing 20th, and rounded it out with a fifth placing in the Under-23 World Championships. Having raced multiple WTS events in 2012, this outstanding swimmer is one to keep an eye on.

Grace Musgrove

A talented transfer from athletics, NTA athlete Musgrove is a gifted runner with impeccable toughness. Her best result of 2012 was a second place finish at the Subic Bay Asian Cup race, but if given an opportunity in 2013 Musgrove will be out to show what she can do in only her second year in the sport.

Sarah Deuble

A Brisbane-based NTA athlete, Deuble has the running pedigree to show her competitors a clean pair of heels. This was shown early in 2012 by winning the Mooloolaba Oceania Cup. With continued improvement to her swim leg, Deuble could be a big performer for Australia in a few years.

Emily Bevan

Based in Queensland, Bevan is an exceptional cyclist/runner who went from strength to strength in 2012. Placing 21st at the Junior World Championships in 2012, if given a sniff at the prize Bevan has an element of brilliance about her which might see her cause a few upsets.

Tamsyn Moana-Veale

An NSWIS product of Jamie Turner, Moana-Veale is a promising athlete who was the 2011 Australian Junior Champion. With strong swim and run abilities, Moana-Veale is on the verge of making the step up to the senior squad.


Junior Male

Jacob Birtwhistle

The one that the nation is talking about. Having a run pedigree to match that of the Brownlees, NTA’s Birtwhistle is Australia’s bright hope for the future. A world champion in schools cross-country, this Tasmanian prodigy is the one to beat in the 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF).

Matt Baker

Another NTA product from NSW, Baker uses the bike and run legs as his weapons. Another AYOF contender, Baker will turn heads in 2013.

Christian Wilson

A talented performer from QLD, Wilson has the complete package. An exceptional swimmer, powerful cyclist, and blistering runner, the NTA prospect has an opportunity this weekend at the AYOF to show off his potential.

Joel Tobin-White

The Victorian product and NTA athlete has a blazing run leg, which sporns from a track running background. With a dominant bike leg to match, Tobin-White could be the answer the Australian men have been searching for.  Tobin-White was 23rd in last year’s ITU Junior World Championship in Auckland, and many are predicting him to return to bigger and better things once he returns from injury.


Junior Female 

Jodie Duff

A rising talent from Brisbane who is going from strength to strength. A three-time national schools triathlon champion, Duff is a pace setter in the water who then backs it up with a strong run leg to pull away from her competitors. A big hope for the win at the 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF), Duff is definitely here for the long run.

Jaz Hedgeland

The NTA athlete from the West, Hedgeland has the complete package of swim, bike and run. Powerful in each discipline, Hedgeland will make a big impact on the scene in 2013. Like Duff, Hedgeland is also set to represent Triathlon Australia at the AYOF, taking place on January 18.

Holly Grice

Only just overlooked for the Australian Junior team in 2012, Grice is a gifted swim/biker with loads of talent. Coming from Dan Atkins’ DAT Racing, Grice is tough and has no fears when setting an extreme pace during a race. Grice will join Duff, Hedgeland and Anna Coldham in the four-person women’s AYOF team.


Picking who will win an Olympic Gold medal is about as tough as beating Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich in a marathon. But this next generation of athletes is jam-packed with potential superstars.

Other names to watch include AYOF team members Luke Willian and Anna Coldham, as well as the Queensland duo of Brittany Dutton and Brittany Forster.

Though we can’t pick it now, without a doubt some of the aforementioned talents will be on the start line of the Olympic Games in just under four years, and hopefully will have a shiny gold rock hanging from their neck.


Triathlon joke


Shaolin Monk Balances On 2 Fingers

Triathlon Madness


When a triathlete is pregnant

Our friend Emesse, member of Cyprus Triathlon National Team is pregnant. This is her echo:

Emesse Meszaros echo