Thousands of Dutch soldiers are not fit enough to pass their annual fitness test, or fail to take it through injury or illness, the AD reports on Wednesday.
Last year, 3,300 soldiers failed to pass and a further 15,500 did not take the test because they were either sick or injured, the AD says. The Dutch army has some 43,000 soldiers.
The fitness tests were introduced in 2009. Soldiers who do not pass cannot be stationed abroad.
A spokesman for military trade union AFMP told the paper the figures are worrying. ‘We all have an interest in ensuring our people remain in good physical condition,’ he said.
Armed forces chief Tom Middendorp said the tests did not mean all 19,000 soldiers who failed or did not take the test are not fit enough to do their jobs. ‘No-one should have their doubts about that,’ he said.
The commander himself did not take the fitness check last year because of a long-term injury, the paper said. Only 30 of the armed forces’ 82 senior officers passed last year.
The AD says the test should be simple for all soldiers to pass. It consists of 20 press-ups, 25 sit-ups and a 2,250 metre run.