Meet the physical fitness officer who has won 100 medals

Cpt. Ishta, IDF (Zahal) physical fitness officer, gave up his status as an “outstanding athlete” to help infantry soldiers prepare for combat

Date: 10/06/2012, 3:26 PM     Author: IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson

Cpt. Daniel Ishta, a physical fitness officer, gave up his status as an “outstanding athlete”- which would have exempted him from army service- in favor of training the new recruits of the Givati Brigade. Cpt. Ishta has won close to 100 medals and 30 trophies in various national competitions.

Even from an early age, Cpt. Ishta excelled at sports, “the teachers and coaches realized very quickly that I could do their job.” He explained, “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.”

“At first I wanted to continue to compete, but I soon realized the importance of what I do. 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,” said Cpt. Ishta. Today he is responsible for training the recruits of both the Givati Infantry Brigade and the Caracal Infantry Battalion, who both conduct their basic training at the training base in southern Israel.

“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. Because the IDF (Zahal) 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. The best part of coaching is the sense of satisfaction you get when the soldiers end their training,” said Cpt. Ishta.