Sport

Forces Sports Set For Return

A number of sports have announced events including cycling, cricket and athletics.

A number of different military sports have announced a date for when they will return now coronavirus pandemic restrictions are being lifted.

Subject to approval, 17 May is the official start date for military sporting competition, but people have been able to play and train in their own time since 12 April.

UKAF cricket has already announced that the T20 Inter Services tournament will take place at Arundel Castle on 10 September.

Now other sports have announced the date of their return, with military cycling getting back to action on 12 July.

That is when the Inter Services Mountain Biking Downhill championships will take place in Gawton, Cornwall.

Following that, the Cross Country event will be on 29 September in Lympstone, Devon.

The cycling road race championships are set for 15 September at Witheridge Moor, Tiverton, while the first-ever Inter Services cyclo-cross championships will debut on 6 October at HMS Raleigh, Cornwall.

Major 'Tiny' Symonds is the general secretary of UKAF cycling and is pleased the sport will be back in action soon.

Rugby league returns to the Army in July with the Lawson Cup.

He said: "We were fortunate last year though in the fact that we were still able to run an Inter Services, because we could use the online virtual cycling platforms.

"UKAF Cycling worked very closely with UKAF Sports boards to make sure we could facilitate that.

"We've already run the 2021 eChampionships and now we're looking forward to hopefully being back on the road and the outdoor activities later on in the year."

Triathlon will return to the military calender with an event on 2 June at Mallory Park in Leicestershire.

For forces show jumping, 21 June is the scheduled start date of the Army Royal tournament which will take place at the Defence Animal Centre in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. 

The UKAF Equestrian Championships are in July, with Navy and RAF showjumping events in August and September respectively. 

Army Rugby League has the Lawson Cup to look forward to which starts on 6 July, with finals day set for 23 July.

UKAF Sport Secretary, Colonel Bede Grossmith, explained why military sport is behind in the timeline for a return compared to civilian sport.

He said: "Some of the national governing bodies have already allowed sport to take off.

"I've seen our local teams in the civilian clubs get going.

"Service sport is a little bit behind that because we're still very much looking at honouring the spirit of minimising travel.

"If you are going to pull together an Army, Navy or Air Force team or even at corps level or regional teams, you've got to pull them in from far and wide and that isn't really minimising travel."