The Army’s Olympic medallist Gunner Karriss Artingstall has said “she couldn’t be prouder” to be part of the service as she returned home to Macclesfield.
Gnr Artingstall won a bronze medal at Tokyo 2020 and brought that prize back to her family as well as a supportive hometown which gave her a hero’s welcome at her former boxing gym.
The featherweight says the Army’s help has been crucial and hopes she will be a role model for people to follow in her footsteps.
“I love everybody knowing that I’m part of the British Army,” she said. “I am very, very proud. I couldn’t be prouder, if I’m honest.
“To know that I’ve made history within the Army boxing team as well – I’m just chuffed to bits about that.
“I hope there are young females that look up to me and think ‘she’s in the Army. She’s managed to pursue her journey and career in boxing’.
“I really do hope there are girls that look up to me like that and think ‘I want to give it a shot now’ because if I can do it, why can’t anybody else do it?”
The Olympic medallist says there’s “no better place to be if you want to pursue a career in sport than the Army”.
“They encourage you to pursue your dreams and they make it possible for you to go on and achieve,” she said.
“The Army’s been the backbone for me really to get to where I am now.”
Gnr Artingstall’s hopes of a gold medal in Tokyo were dashed with a semi-final defeat to Japan’s Sena Irie.
With rumours of a professional boxing career on the cards, the Army boxer revealed to Forces News that she will be sticking with amateur boxing for the moment and is aiming for the Paris Olympics in 2024.
She says she was “heartbroken” and “disappointed” not to come back with a gold medal, but added: “It puts fire in my belly and I’ll be making sure I correct the wrongs.
“It’s no good me sitting here saying ‘if I did this, if I did that’, because it’s not going to change anything
“You’ve just got to live and learn. It’s experience, so I will learn from it and make sure I correct it in the future.”
The Army featherweight said: “I’m sticking around. I want to experience the Olympics when it’s not in a pandemic.
“I also want to complete everything as an amateur before I do step on and move on to the professional game.
“I’m missing a Commonwealth Games medal and a European Games medal so I’ll be pushing on to collect those on my journey.”
As well as the Army, Gnr Artingstall says her mother deserves a lot of the credit for getting her where she is today, and the reunion in Macclesfield was a moment she won’t forget.
She explained: “It was unbelievable being able to do that when I arrived home – giving my mum the medal, a bunch of flowers and just seeing her face.
“Making my mum proud was obviously the best feeling I got out of this tournament.”