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Be the best - Army goes for gold at the Commonwealth Games

17 July 2002

The British Army is playing a major part in the 2002 Commonwealth Games. It’s sending ten competitors from six nations.

Kelly Morgan

Kelly Morgan - be the best

The Army also has a prominent role in the Opening Ceremony – yet to be unveiled - and provides officials for several events.

Sport and physical exercise play a major part in Army life. The Army takes great pride in supporting its elite athletes by allowing them time off to train and compete, as well as providing some financial help.

Leading the field is Private Kelly Morgan, who broke the British javelin record three times in the past few weeks, at the Commonwealth and European Championship trials. Kelly, stationed in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, has high hopes for a medal: “To break the British record once was fantastic, but to do it again was absolutely amazing.”

“My preparation for the Games couldn’t have been better, and I’m really looking forward to Manchester. The atmosphere’s going to be brilliant, with the home crowd cheering me on, and I just hope I can repay the Army for all the help and support it’s given me by bringing back a medal,” she said.

Also in track and field, the ‘sprint twins’ Lance Corporals Josephus and Joselyn Thomas are competing for Sierra Leone in the 100m and 200m races, while Private Lee Okoroafo (decathlon) is representing Nigeria. All four athletes are attached to the same regiment, 3 (CS) Regt Royal Logistics Corps, the current men’s Army athletics champions.

Lance Corporal James Whitfield, of 1 Royal Anglian Regt, will fight it out in the ring for Wales in the light heavyweight boxing. In judo, Lieutenant Simon Childs of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment and Private Stephanie Hart of 7 Royal Horse Artillery, compete for Northern Ireland and Scotland respectively.

Tank commander Corporal Duncan Urquhart, 1 Royal Tank Regiment, swaps his caterpillar tracks for wheels when he competes in the time trial and road race cycling events. After success in the Tour of the North event earlier this year, Scot Cpl Urquhart has his sights firmly set on winning a medal.

Corporal Robert Doak of 3 Royal Irish Regiment represents Northern Ireland in several pistol shooting events. He’ll be competing under the eagle eye of the director of shooting, Major Peter Underhill, at the National Shooting Centre in Bisley.

Finally, veteran weightlifter Captain Ray Williams of the Army Physical Training Corps will be hoping to relive the glory days when he won gold at the 1986 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games. Capt Williams, who has come out of retirement for the Games, considers qualifying for the Welsh team at the age of 42 as great an achievement as his victory 16 years ago.

The entire Army boxing squad form the core of officials at ringside before, during and after bouts, making sure that the fighters get to the ring, are wearing the proper protective equipment and stewarding the crowds. And two of the all-important scorers, who will decide the victor if bouts go the distance, are Army officers.

All Army soldiers and officers strive to “be the best” in their chosen field, and that’s exactly what the Army competitors will be aiming for in Manchester.

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