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Why is sport in the Army so important?

Location: Team Army » Sports Foundation » Why is sport in the Army so important?

Our Armed Forces do a great deal on our behalf. In order to protect our interests and our way of life, we frequently ask these brave men and women to risk their lives in extreme circumstances and when called upon they do so with great courage and professionalism.

Sport makes a vital contribution to the Army’s operational capability. It helps soldiers to work in teams, develop as individuals and aids recruiting and retention. It promotes self discipline, esprit-de-corps and raises standards of fitness and endurance. It brings out the best in people and stimulates the hunger to win on the field and on the battleground.

For those who come home with life changing injuries, sport can play a key role in helping to rebuild their lives by providing positive goals, improving physical mobility and confidence.

The Team Army brand was launched to attract fundraising and sponsorship with the aim of promoting and sustaining Army sport and ensuring its future success.

Since our launch in January 2011, we have distributed over £2m in grants to more than 65 sports associations and several organisations that specifically assist our disabled and recovering servicemen and women.

Case in point: Sergeant Mick Brennan Royal Signals
Team GB Athlete – Combined Services Disabled Ski Team

Sgt Mick Brennan lost both his legs in a suicide bomb attack in Iraq in 2004.

‘I am incredibly grateful for the funding and support that I have received from my Team Army sponsors. The financial support has enabled me to increase my training schedule and to attend more international qualifying events. In addition to this I have also been fortunate in receiving direct support from several sponsors who collaborated to design and build me a high-tech sit-ski, fine-tuned to my own requirements; this new rig has already enabled me to knock vital milliseconds off my race timings!

Thank you for all the sponsorship support, both financial and physical, which will go a long way towards helping me achieve my goal of representing Great Britain at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.’

Case in point: Captain Heather Stanning Royal Artillery
Team GB Rower – Olympic Gold Medalist

On 1 August 2012 history was made as Captain Stanning and Helen Glover won the first gold medal of the 2012 Olympic Games and the first ever in women’s rowing for the women’s cox-less pair.

‘I’m hugely grateful for the support the Army has given me over the last two years in order to achieve an Olympic gold medal. The experience was truly life changing but my military life now beckons and I’m excited to be back with my Regiment and training for a deployment to Afghanistan in 2013. I firmly believe that encouraging soldiers to take part in sports will help them to develop their military skills. Participating in sport encourages characteristics that soldiers need on the front line such as dedication, determination, teamwork, endurance and courage. I am delighted to be an Ambassador for Team Army and fully support their aim to raise funds for Army sports with the aim of promoting excellence, increasing opportunity and enabling recuperation and rehabilitation from operations.’

Case in point: Private Mark Allen, 1 Royal Anglians
Driver & Ambassador – Kartforce Kart racing team

Mark was blown up by an IED whilst on foot patrol in January 2010 in Helmand Province.  He was 19 years old.

“I lost both legs above the knee and had bad shrapnel wounds to my face I also lost my little finger on my left hand and my thumb and the top of my index finger on my right hand.”

Mark never imagined he’d be able to get into any form of motorsport, so when he tried the karts with hand controls and raced against non-injured drivers, he decided this was a sport he wanted to take up competitively.

“Although we’re injured, nothing is holding us back. We’re racing against other drivers on equal terms.”

In 2013 Mark and his team mates have competed in over 45 races, including three 24hr races – the Daytona 24hr, the Le Mans 24hr and the British 24hr.

“I love the buzz that racing gives me. It’s built up my confidence and when I’m behind the wheel it’s a great leveller. I love taking on people on the track and winning.”

Kart racing gives these lads more than just an opportunity to race.  It’s had a very positive effect on their self-confidence.  Even though Mark is one of the youngest lads in KartForce, he’s been nominated to be the next KartForce Ambassador.  He’ll be meeting sponsors and making presentations to audiences keen to hear how he got injured and how motorsport has helped him re-build and re-shape his life.

“I knew a few of the lads involved in racing from before at Headley Court and since joining the team we’ve become great mates.  It’s a team sport and we’re all a part of something. It’s not about our injuries… it’s simply about competing on a level playing field – something we’re proving we are great at.”

Founder of KartForce, Dave Player, said, “Mark is one of our top drivers.  He’ll soon be progressing to competing in team endurance racing in a Jaguar XF-S – the car that won the 2012 Nurburgring 24hr.  None of these opportunities would have been possible if we didn’t have the support of Team Army.”

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