Air Cadets participate in sports at various levels, gaining recognition for themselves, their Squadron, Wing, Region and can even be selected to represent the Corps.
There are seven major sports offered by Air Cadets.
All sports are governed and run according to the rules of the relevant UK governing body.
Athletics is by far the most popular sport that Air Cadets take part in.
Events normally occur in the summer months and all age groups can participate to Corps level. The age groups are normally split into the following categories:
Under 17 Men
Under 15 Girls
Within these age groups, the following events are available:
The Air Cadets run 11-A-Side football competitions at both Junior and Senior age groups with the Senior age group being able to play at Corps level. 5-a-side football is also played, though this is normally only to Region level.
All Wings within the ATC operate tournaments between their Squadrons, which allow the best players to be selected to represent the Wing. The same applies to the Region, with Wings competing against each other and the best players being able to make up the Regional team and so on up to Corps level, where Cadets can compete against other Cadet Services and other external teams – sometimes to International level.
11-A-Side football is only played by male cadets and is played under the official rules of the FA. The Inter Squadron football tournaments are mostly run around the autumn time of the year.
5-a-side football can be enjoyed by both male and female cadets (though participation by females is reliant on adequate changing facilities at venues). The male’s competition is usually split into Juniors and Seniors. The 5-a-side tournaments are held at the beginning of the year and are usually well attended.
Rugby is only played by male cadets within the Air Cadets, it is played to all levels (Seniors) and only to Wing at Junior level, although some Regions do arrange friendly games at Junior level.
There is also an inter Region Junior Rugby tournament offering the chance for competition.
Games are normally played in late autumn to early winter, with the Corps games being in the early new year. Some Wings also play Rugby 7’s.
Hockey in the Air Cadets is played by female cadets, and can be competed at right up to Corps level.
Most wings host Inter Squadron tournaments where the Cadets for the Wing, Region and Corps teams will be selected.
The Hockey Tournaments are normally held late in the year.
The competition at Squadron level is normally open age group, but once at Wing level and beyond, it is split into Junior and Senior girls.
Swimming is the Corps most Successful event, with the ATC winning the last 29 annual tri-service meetings.
The sport is played with 4 age groups:
This sport is normally played in the late autumn time of the year. Competitors can compete at all levels of this sport.
The following events are participated in:-
Cross Country is normally the very last sport in the year for most Wings and is competed at by Junior and Senior Girls, and Junior, Youth and Senior Boys.
As well as these seven major sports offered by the Air Cadets, there are also a huge variety of other sports participated in at Squadron and Wing levels including 5-A-Side, Table Tennis, Volleyball and many more.
These tend to be played more for local pride and fun rather than being truly competitive; it does not matter if you’re not intending to be the next Olympic star. The opportunities are there, enjoy yourself!