The Army Sports Awards were back last night following a year’s break due to the pandemic. The Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith hosted a glittering ceremony to recognise the sporting excellence of Army athletes across 47 sporting disciplines, both nationally and internationally, over the past two years.
Held at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, this year’s Ceremony coincided with the 103rd anniversary of the formation of the Army Sports Control Board on 18th November 1918 and gave a unique opportunity for senior Army personnel and guests to meet the Army sports men and women and celebrate their achievements.
Among the 290 guests were world class athletes Charlotte Watson from Scotland and GB Hockey, Sarah-Jane Perry ranked 5th in the Squash world rankings in 2020 and Olympic gold medallists, boxer Lauren Price and pentathlete Kate French.
I’m over the moon to have received this award. It’s phenomenal, especially being here amongst all the Army personnel. Gunner Karris Artingstall
1 Regiment Royal Horse Artillery
Army sport, like sport right across the country, was hit hard during the pandemic but despite the restrictions of lockdown, Army personnel organised hugely successful virtual events and raised an enormous amount of money for various charities. Between national lockdowns and during the summer of 2020 over 50% of the Army’s recognised sports responded to demand and managed to lay on over 240 representative fixtures and sports events, all complying with constraints and rules imposed by national governing bodies.
General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith said: “Sport is part of the Army’s identity and it’s lifeblood. It develops character and self-discipline and a competitive spirit.
"You might think I am talking about sport but we are an Army; what this really is, is fighting spirit. And it is fighting spirit that makes you winners and it’s the same fighting spirit that turns an Army into a winning Army.”
I’m so proud. 21½ years in the Army and to have won this in my last 6 months what a fitting completion to my service. Corporal Simon Horsfield
5th Battalion The Rifles
Talking about the broader success of Army sport he added: “Well done and thank you for all that you are doing in support of our Army. Wherever you sit and whatever you’re doing, it’s working, so keep at it and inspire others to follow in your footsteps.”
The Winners of the Army Sports Awards 2021 are:
- Sportswoman of the Year: Gunner Karriss Artingsall (Boxing)
- Sportsman of the Year: Corporal Simon Horsfield (Dinghy Sailing)
- Rising Star: Rifleman Gary Young (Clay Target Shooting)
- Sports Official of the Year: Sergeant William Nichols (Cycling)
- Lifetime Achievement Joint Winners: Warrant Officer 2nd Class Brian Hall, (Karate) and Major (Retd) Kevin Kirkham MBE, (Boxing)
- Team of the Year: Army Women’s Rugby League Team
- Major and Minor Units of the Year: 6 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps and Headquarters 7th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters East
- Reserve Unit of the Year: 204 Field Hospital
Sport is a key activity in the Army as the qualities engendered through participation are the same qualities required of soldiers in battle. Participation in Sport also empowers soldiers and develops leaders. The Army places a high importance on all sport and makes opportunities available to personnel to compete and officiate at the highest levels.