Olympics

'Army's Been The Backbone': Olympic Medallist Karriss Artingstall On Return Home

Gunner Karriss Artingstall returned home to Macclesfield with her Olympic bronze medal to a hero's welcome.

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?"

Gunner Karriss Artingstall (left) and her mother Laurette (right) who has the Olympic medal around her neck.

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.

Watch: Karriss Artingstall's mother and coach reflect on her journey to Olympic glory.

"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."

She went on: "Obviously, I wanted to win gold etc and take my mum and brothers also to the top spot.

"Getting the messages off my mum telling me that she's proud, it just made me feel like a champion in itself."

Watch: Karriss Artingstall – Boxer will be back 'stronger' after Olympic exit.

Gnr Artingstall describes her younger self as "a bit of a little rascal" who was "always causing drama" for her mum, but says "she's always had my back".

"She's always stuck by me and if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't be where I am today.

"She was the father figure for me as well."

Mum Laurette revealed that she is "proud" of what her daughter achieved and thinks she will be an inspiration for others.

"She's got little girls, friends of mine, their children – all really inspired by Karris," she said. "They're wanting to take up boxing now and wanting to go into the Army.

"A lot of the younger ones thought that if they went into the Army, they couldn't take up boxing. You can actually do the both.

"All the support from the British Army – they've supported her like an extended family.

"It's just been magnificent. I'm just so proud of her," she added.