Each squadron runs as many sports as their facility can accommodate. These could include 5-a-side football, table tennis, volleyball, racket sports and many others. Cadets can play for fun, but it is often that we see cadets unleash their competitive side. Don't worry if you don't think sport is your strength. You don't have to be the next Olympic star, but don't miss the opportunities when they come, as you may find that you enjoy yourself!
The Air Cadets offers an extensive range of sporting activities to cadets, allowing you to represent your Squadron, Wing (County), Region (South West England) , and even go all the way to represent the Air Cadet Corps in the national competitions against the Army Cadets; Sea Cadets or an RAF Team. 344 Squadron has done very well in recent years with various cadets being awarded Corps Blues which is the equivalent of a national cap and are awarded for representing the Corps.
The London Wing Inter-Squadron Athletics Competition is held each year between the Squadrons in London Wing. The events include all the usual track and field events and the competitions are split into different age categories to level the playing field.
There are frequent tournaments between squadrons, where the best players are selected to represent the wing. The same then happens for the region, with wings competing against each other and the best players making up the regional team. If you make it through each of those selections then you're good. Really good. You'll be at the top of your game and will have a shot at representing the entire cadet corps, nationally and even internationally.
The Air Cadets also offers RAF-run courses for both cadets and staff to gain qualifications in such things as Community Sports Leader Course, Athletics Officials, Rugby and Netball Referees. Famous sportsmen such as Linford Christie, Rory Underwood and Geoff Capes are all former Air Cadets.
Popular sports at air cadets
In the Air Cadets, there are four main team sports. While both male and female cadets can compete in any sport that the cadets offers, for the male cadets the sports that are most popular are football and rugby and for female cadets it is hockey and netball. Both have junior (under 16) and senior (16 and over) classes and are participated in from Wing (County) to Corps (National) levels. Trials are held every September and January for cadets from all squadrons in London to show their skills and abilities and get into the Wing Team. If successful you will represent the Wing against other Wings. There are selectors at every competition and the best players from the competition are selected for the next level.
Cross country is another popular sport within the air cadets. It is held annually with participants of all ages competing against other cadets in the Wing. From here they then continue onto Region and potentially Corps level. The course is on average 3 miles long.
Swimming is definitely one of the more social events in the sports calendar. Swimmers of varying talents attend the annual swimming competition, representing their squadron, competing against each other and as with all the other events, the best swimmers will be selected for the next level and represent the Wing.