Amid preparation for the high-end naval engagements ashore, at sea and in the air, Exercise Kakadu 2022 participants found time for friendly competition in the exercise’s official sports day.

Exercise Director Captain Pete Bartlett said he always looked forward to this part of the exercise.

“Few activities translate across language and culture like sports do,” Captain Bartlett said.

Personnel from many of the 20 countries involved in Kakadu competed or observed the sports day, which included the Ninja Challenge Cup (a land and water relay obstacle course) and an indoor beach volleyball competition.

Cheers in the various nations’ languages could be heard across the Darwin waterfront precinct and throughout the Darwin Indoor Volleyball Centre. Members proudly displayed their national flags and many donned country-specific fitness clothing.

Physical training instructor Petty Officer Matthew Rowe said the competition was “very fierce but full of friendship, good banter and good fun – as you can see with smiles all around”.

“We achieved leadership, friendship and partnership – all together with sport in Darwin,” Petty Officer Rowe said.

A German Air Force team won the Ninja Challenge Cup, while the Indian Navy was victorious in the indoor beach volleyball. And all attendees enjoyed the international camaraderie and a shared Kakadu experience.

“Engaging with our partners professionally is crucial to Exercise Kakadu, but it is equally important, if not more so, to build bonds with our counterparts in social settings,” Captain Bartlett said.

Exercise Kakadu, in Darwin and the Northern Australian Exercise area, started on September 12 and will finish on September 24.