Sport

British Army Boxers Hope New Year Successes Can Boost Medal Hopes

Two of the military's leading boxers have been talking about their hopes for the New Year...

Two of the military's leading boxers have been talking about their hopes for the New Year.

Army boxing captain Corporal Alanna Nihell remains confident of qualifying for the Northern Ireland team at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Australia's Gold Coast.

Her teammate Lance Corporal Natty Ngwenya, meanwhile, has given his quest for a place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics a boost with a recent victory at the GB Championships.

Cpl Nihell received a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, after making the semi-finals in the lightweight category under her maiden name, Audley-Murphy.

But the soldier, who serves with 27 Regiment, the Royal Logistics Corps, wants to go one better this year:

"I made the semi-finals last time. I lost to the winner [Shelley Watts], who was Australian. To go to Australia and box her in her own country [would be amazing].

"I have all the ability to go out there and make the final, so I don't know why I can't go out there and win it."

"I believe in myself... and I'm sure if I get selected, Northern Ireland will believe in me too."

Cpl Nihell's selection for the team hit a glitch last month when she returned to Northern Ireland for the Ulster Championships - but was denied the chance to show the team management what she could do after being given a walkover.

She's now looking forward to leading members of the Army team to victory against an England select in Hereford this weekend, however, saying:

"I was absolutely gutted... [but] fingers crossed I'll be on that team."

Her Army team-mate Natty Ngwenya, meanwhile, is hoping his win in the GB Championships will put him on the road to Olympic qualification. The man from the Grenadier Guards said:

"It was nerve-wracking just before I walked in the ring but as soon as I walked in... I just blanked out the audience, everyone, and it was just between me and Lewis Williams."

"I knew what was at stake. All I told myself [was] 'it's nine minutes of hard work'.

"I don't want to come out of that ring thinking 'I could have done better'... I left it all in the ring."

LCpl Ngwenya added that: "Representing GB, as an amateur, is the pinnacle of our sport. That's where you want to be."

More: Volleyball 'No Longer A Men's Sport', Says Army Team