From the frontline to the finish line, Gurkhas have throughout their history proved themselves not only as remarkable soldiers but natural sportsmen too. Their sporting prowess is evidenced throughout the Brigade of Gurkhas’ long and proud sporting heritage, spanning from the playing fields of the 19th century to the wide variety of competitions participated in by the soldiers and officers today.

Even the Brigade’s current recruitment process involves an element of the sportsman. Potential recruits not only have to be extremely physically fit generally, but must also complete the arduous Doko Run, carrying a weighted basket up over 5km of steep hill as fast as possible. Once recruits have successfully passed selection, both physical training and sport become key parts of their time within the British Army. Historic trophies such as the Nepal Cup are still competed for annually by the units within the Brigade, while individual soldiers participate in an array of wider army sporting competitions, from target shooting to martial arts.

This exhibition showcases the remarkable range of sporting achievements of the Brigade of Gurkhas throughout history.

We are delighted to share this exhibition free of charge however welcome donations to The Gurkha Museum Trust if you feel able. The Gurkha Museum Trust is a charity that relies on your support. Every donation large or small enables us to continue celebrating, honouring and promoting the history and culture of the Gurkha Soldier and their continuing service to Britain.



Anecdotally, Gurkhas have always been renowned for being talented marksmen, with numerous historical references being made to the deadliness of a Gurkha armed with a rifle.

Queen's Medal

The most prestigious prize to be awarded at the competition is the Queen’s Medal for the best individual shot in the British Army.

Khud Race

The Hill Race was first introduced by Major (later Brigadier-General) Charles Bruce of the 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles as a protest against the Indian Army attitude which considered that Gurkhas could not compete in sports on equal terms with other units of the Indian Army.

Hill Race Trophy

Four years after the first Khud Race was run, the 5th Gurkha Challenge Cup was presented to become the Hill Race Trophy. It was later given to the 6th Gurkha Rifles in 1907.


Nepal is home to one of the most spectacular mountain ranges in the world, so it is perhaps unsurprising that Gurkha association with mountaineering runs deep in its veins. Two of the earliest attempts to summit Mount Everest were led by a British Gurkha Officer, Brigadier-General Charles Bruce, of 6th Gurkha Rifles, back in 1922 and 1924. Both expeditions were supported by Gurkhas and Nepalese porters, and although ultimately unsuccessful, marked an early association between Gurkhas and Everest.

G200 Ice Axe

In 2015, the 200th year anniversary of Gurkha service to the crown, the Brigade set out to scale Everest with the aim of placing the first serving Gurkhas at the summit.

Tenzing's Ice Axe

Sherpa Tenzing Norgay was born Namgyal Wangdi in Khumbu, north-eastern Nepal. Like many Sherpas Tenzing sought to begin a career in mountaineering, signing on at age 20 with the 1935 British Mount Everest Expedition under Eric Shipton.

Olympic Prize For Alpinism

The Olympic prize for Alpinism was awarded between 1924 and 1936 for the most notable mountaineering feats accomplished in the four years leading up to the Olympic games.

Nirmal Purja MBE

One of the most remarkable feats of mountaineering in recent years was the record-breaking ascent of 14 of the world’s highest mountains in just one climbing season.

Sportsmen by nature

Sportsmen by nature

The sporting traditions of Gurkha regiments often date back to their origins within the former British Indian Army. British officers introduced and encouraged sports such as horse-polo, boxing, football and track-and-field events into their Gurkha units, and the natural athleticism of Gurkha soldiers became evident as they excelled across most sports they tried their hands at. New events, such as the iconic Khud Race, were also created, as officers spotted the potential for their men to excel in hill-running above other soldiers in the Indian Army. These sporting traditions continued until the Gurkha Brigade left India in 1947 and went on to inform sporting heritage within the modern Brigade of Gurkhas.

Sporting Medals

Today, Gurkhas compete across an increasingly wide array of sporting disciplines at all levels, including Regimental, Corps, Army, and the wider UK Armed Forces.

The Nepal Cup

There are a number of significant sporting events within the Brigade of Gurkhas’ calendar, but perhaps none more prestigious than the Nepal Cup.

The Kiwi Trophy

The Kiwi Trophy is a 14-mile march and shoot competition held annually by 3rd (UK) Division Signal Regiment. It is designed to test soldiers’ physical robustness and marksmanship skills, both of which are vital for operative effectiveness.

Sporting For Good

Charity fundraising

Whilst Gurkhas have proved themselves natural competitors across numerous disciplines, not all sporting achievements are done in the pursuit of gold. Units of the Brigade of Gurkhas regularly put their athleticism to good use through fundraising challenges, pushing their physical and mental limits for the benefit of charity. Recent fundraising endeavours by members of the Brigade have included a Three Peaks Challenge carrying Doko baskets, a virtual accumulative race equal to the distance of London to Kathmandu and back again, a 100km in 10 days virtual race, and gruelling physical training challenges. In the last two years alone, the units have raised a total of £12,356 for The Gurkha Museum through sporting challenges, while also raising funds for numerous other charities as well.


One of the most recognised fundraising endurance events, open to both civilians and military personnel, is Trailwalker; a 100km team race across the South Downs Way. Jointly organised and supported by Queen’s Gurkha Signals and Oxfam, the event grew from what was originally a military training exercise in Hong Kong in 1981 created to test the teamwork and resilience of its soldiers. Five years after its inception Trailwalker welcomed its first civilian participants, and continues to run today. The course record was set by the Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistics Regiment, who completed the race in an incredible 9 hours and 50 minutes in 2004. The most recent winners were Queen’s Gurkha Signals who currently hold the trophy.

© The Gurkha Museum Trust Winchester - Registered Charity Number 1169920 (formerly 272426)