Cpl Tshepo Ramothibe – 3 PARA

Corporal Tshepo Ramothibe’s military career so far has included fitness, travel and – more recently – the winter sport of bobsleigh: “It’s a niche sport!

I don’t think many people get to hear about it and the only reason there’s more exposure to it within my unit – the 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment – is because of how well our team does,” explained Ramothibe, who’s been based with the airborne light infantry unit in their barracks in Colchester since 2010.


For the past three seasons, Ramothibe has been released from his regular duties with his regiment – known as the ‘Paras’ – from October to March to train and compete in the sport. “It’s a full-time commitment. We have two sessions a day in Colchester, which could be at the artificial start track in barracks, the gym or track work.

Then we go on training camps when they’re available – we had one in Lillehammer in Norway for a week in mid-October, we started this year in La Plagne in France for a week, and we’ve got a two-week package in Austria ahead of the main competition period in St Moritz in Switzerland in February,” he explained.

Overseas travel has been a key feature of Cpl Ramothibe’s time in the Army so far, including a six-month deployment to Afghanistan shortly after joining 3 Para in 2010. He has also regularly trained in different countries, undertaking field exercises in France, Germany, Poland and Spain in Europe; Kenya, where British units regularly undertake 8-week Battlegroup-level training scenarios; the Falkland Islands, where the Paras fought during the Falklands War in 1982; and the United States.

Born in South Africa, Ramothibe came to the UK with his family when he was nine years old: “I was happy to move to the UK because there are more opportunities here and it’s a better environment. I still have family in South Africa but I don’t get back very often because I’m fairly settled in the UK.”

It was the physicality of the military – and the high fitness levels required to join the Paras – that first attracted Cpl Ramothibe to join the Army in 2008, when he was 19: “I came from a big athletics background, competing at a regional level, and wanted to join the Paras specifically because of how fit you had to be.”

He thinks the last 15 years have really been a time of change for the Army. “I have 100% seen an improvement for people of different ethnic backgrounds. The Army is much bigger on the subject of diversity and it’s policed a lot more now than back then,” he explained. “I don’t see people ahead of me that are ‘role models’ for my situation and background, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing to blaze a trail.”

Looking ahead, Ramothibe has high hopes for 2024. Now in his third bobsleigh season, he aims to get into the Army team this year and compete against the RAF and Navy in the inter-services competition. Back in barracks, having taken on a more managerial role behind the scenes, he has his fingers crossed that he will gain a promotion to Sergeant later this year.