The Givati Brigade will face fierce competition next month when it fights to keep its title as the IDF infantry brigade with the highest fitness scores.
Givati has taken the top trophy in combat fitness for the past three years after stealing it from the Paratrooper's Brigade in 2005. The next competition will likely be held at the Wingate Institute in November.
Credited with the victories is Lt. Akiva Grossman, Givati's combat fitness trainer who, together with the previous brigade commander Col. Ilan Malka, instituted a strict training regimen to get the brigade into shape.
For example, brigade commander Col. Moni Katz runs 10 kilometers, four times a week.
"Givati set a high standard for its commanders and this creates a culture that trickles down to the soldiers," an officer in the Ground Forces Command explained. "The IDF demands that commanders get at least an 80 on their fitness tests. We require a 90."
Before the brigades compete against one another, on Wednesday, all IDF officers with the rank of major and higher will participate in the largest-ever military fitness competition at Wingate. Overseen by Col. Avi Moyal, the IDF's chief combat fitness officer, the officers will compete in a wide range of categories including running, tennis, swimming and volleyball.
The highlight of the event will be a soccer match between members of the IDF's top brass - led by Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi - and former players on Israel's national soccer team.