An IDF physical fitness officer is in great shape. While combat soldiers are decorated with a few medals, Captain Daniel Ishta has 100 of them plus 30 trophies.
He gave up a chance for a deferment as an “outstanding athlete” and chose to serve in the IDF like most every other Israeli, and he still is at it, training new recruits of the Givati Brigade.
Having excelled at athletics from an early age, he was spotted by teachers and coaches as someone who could do their job.
“Sport is a love that you can’t explain, one day you just find you’re good at it and from that point it’s a part of your life,” he said.
“At first I wanted to continue to compete, but I soon realized the importance of what I do,” Captain Ishta relates. “To be a physical fitness officer is not just a profession, you’re a kind of coach, even a spiritual guide. You’re the one that pushes the soldier, giving him motivation and making him believe in himself and in his abilities.”
Capt. Ishta also is responsible for training the recruits in the Caracal Infantry Battalion, which includes both male and female combat soldiers.
“The training is adjusted individually for all combat soldiers based on the physical shape they arrive in, it is important to make progress gradually to avoid injuries,” he adds. “Because the IDF has put such an emphasis in recent years on physical and combat fitness, combat soldiers are in excellent physical condition and their progress is evident.”