Photographer: Sergeant Rupert Frere RLC (Phot)

Renowned soprano Laura Wright opened the evening in style by performing “Invincible”, her song from the Invictus Games.

The finest sportsmen and women in the Army have been recognised at a glittering awards ceremony held in the historic Guildhall in the City of London. Recognition of Olympic, Paralympic, and Commonwealth Games success was matched by awards for team of the year, officials, unsung heroes, rising stars, and a special lifetime achievement award.

The occasion was hosted by General Sir Nicholas Carter, Chief of the General Staff, and was organised in collaboration with Team Army and the Army Sports Control Board. Sports presenter Gabby Logan added sparkle to the event as compere, ably assisted by Master of Ceremonies Brigadier Richard Dennis OBE. Renowned soprano Laura Wright opened the evening in style by performing “Invincible”, her song from the Invictus Games, and guests throughout the evening were entertained by the musical talents of the Band of the Corps of Royal Engineers.

Joining General Carter, military sportsmen and sportswomen, award nominees, sponsors, friends and supporters were some of the UK’s biggest sporting heroes, including Victoria Pendleton, Greg Rutherford, Colin Jackson and James Cracknell, as well as some of the Army’s own former stars, Tim Rodber and Matthew Fleming. Members of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment standing guard added extra ceremony to the occasion.

The Army takes sport very seriously, not just because it expects its personnel to be fit to serve, but because the values and standards enshrined in sport perfectly match those held so highly in the Armed Forces. Soldiers are expected to work in a team for the good of the team, to strive to be the best at what they do, to be disciplined enough to succeed against the toughest challenges and to learn from and overcome defeat.

The Army Sports Awards 2014 was attended by 450 guests, including Royal Air Force and Royal Navy personnel in recognition of their participation in the Winter Olympics, the Commonwealth Games and the Invictus Games.

General Carter said: “I place a huge premium on sport in the Army. My starting point is that it helps our Army win in battle. It plays a vital role in welfare, morale, operational effectiveness and recovery.

“Sport produces soldiers who build and lead teams by habit and reflex. It generates and maintains cohesion. It nurtures pride and that essential corollary – humility. It encourages leaders to think clearly, confidently and positively when under pressure. And fundamentally it feeds a winning culture and ethos that inspire hunger for success on the battlefield.

“This is therefore a clear message to the chain of command: as we transition from several years of campaigning to a new era where we need to be ever ready for a broad range of challenges, our soldiers must be given opportunities for sport, challenge and adventure.”

Those opportunities are being strengthened by a new initiative, Team Army, a registered charity that raises funds for Forces sport, thus reducing the burden on the tax payer. Many Team Army sponsors already involved in the scheme were at the awards ceremony last night enjoying the success they have helped make happen.

The ceremony will be broadcast on Forces TV on Sky Channel 264 at 2000 hrs on the evening of Friday 28 November 2014.

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