New squadron wins honours in NDA cross country race

The newly-raised 16th squadron Panthers in the National Defence Academy bagged the top honours at the cross country on Sunday. The youngest of the 16 squadrons, Panthers was participating in the race for the first time and it won the overall championship with 952 points. While Lima, winners of the last cross country finished eighth, other squadrons Alpha and Oscar, who have a tradition of dominating the cross country, finished third and fourth.

In the 12.5 km run that began at 7 am, battalion cadet adjutant (BCA) J S Aswal of Lima squadron finished first followed by Sgt A Joshi of Charlie and Sgt Vicky Duhoon of Oscar. In a surprising achievement, Cadet Lalit Thapliyal of Charlie squadron, a first-termer finished fourth. The first-termers were participating in the cross country after a gap of a few years. The winners were felicitated by Lt Gen Jatinder Singh, commandant, NDA. Also present was Air Vice Marshal Ajit Bhonsle, deputy commandant.

"The credit of the squadron's victory goes to systematic training pattern that we followed for about a month-and-a half. Every week we trained for six days, sprints for two days and full run with average timing for the remaining four," said the officer commanding Panthers squadron.

The 16th squadron comprises cadets who earlier belonged to the other squadrons from the third and fourth battalions. "As many as 15 of the 16 first-termers in the squadron participated in the run. While the other termers have participated in the run earlier, this is the first time we ran together as a squadron," said squadron cadet captain Amod Serraro.

It was after a gap of three-four years that the first-termers who will have to do it within months of joining the academy participated in the competition. As many as 1,839 cadets of the posted 2000-plus participated in the run, with a team of military doctors keeping a close watch on them.

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