Lance Corporal Carnell Brown (28) from Walsall, serves in 1st Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment (1Yorks) as a personnel administrator and was honoured at a glittering gala dinner event held amidst the grandeur of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst’s Old College Dining Room.
In front of an audience of the Army’s top performing athletes, team players, coaches and sports staff Carnell stepped forward to receive the Sportsman of the Year Award presented to him by Commandant Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Major General Zac Stenning OBE for his extraordinary contribution and commitment to boxing.
Having received his award an elated Carnell said: “ I have mixed emotions, being surrounded by so much talent it could have gone either way, there have been amazing achievements from the other nominees”. He added “the coaches don’t get enough credit, its hard to see how much work they put in in the background along with the event organisers. A massive thanks to the team as well”.
Carnell got into boxing 10 years ago as he “enjoyed the idea of combat sports and watched boxing on TV from a young age”. This influenced his decision to join a local boxing club.
Some of Carnell’s sporting achievements include Cruiser Weight Elite National Champion 2021, UK Armed Forces Elite Light Heavy Weight Champion 2019 and National Semi-finalist, Eindhoven Box Cup Light Heavy Weight Champion 2019, Army Individual Champion Novice Class A and Class B Light Heavy Weight, Class B Novice UK Armed Forces Champion and Novice Class B National Light Heavy Weight Champion.
Carnell joined the Army in 2016 as he “wanted to explore outside of Walsall” and has certainly achieved that, having been to Germany, Belgium, France, Greece, Ukraine, Scotland, Netherlands, Estonia and Latvia. When not in training he spends his free time playing tennis and table tennis.
When asked how it feels to be taking part in the sport he said, “It’s a great experience but the nerves and pressure does not get any easier. But it’s a fun and addictive sport”.
When asked what the most fulfilling aspects had been he said, “Winning the National title”. When asked what his family and friends think he said: “They think It’s great and all have been very supportive”.
Sport continues to grow at a grass roots level within Army units, participation is on the increase and the Army continues to find and develop some precious talent. Currently there are 48 recognised sports with the Army Sport Control Board (ASCB) voting on new requests on an annual basis.
This year the Army currently have 11 full-time athletes representing the Army and UK on the national and international stages. The Army has a further 50 personnel on the Army Elite Sport Programme’s Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS), with the ASCB and BAE Systems scholarship schemes providing grants to over 100 more talented hopefuls. There were 4 competitors from the British Army at the Commonwealth Games this year representing the UK in judo, athletics and boxing although none podiumed, their performances were all excellent.
The Army is proving to be a rewarding career path for some of the country’s sporting talent. Part of this is due to the excellent relationships between the Army Sport Control Board, the Talented Athlete Scheme, partnerships with UK Sport, the English Institute of Sport, and individual sport's governing bodies including GB Boxing, GB Snowsport, GB shooting amongst others.