Scottish judo champ has concerns about the future of the forces

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THE Scottish Marine who won a Commonwealth gold medal in judo last year has revealed he is worried about the state of the armed forces.

Chris Sherrington has returned to the navy instead of training for the Olympics in Rio but has spoken out about the drive to recruit more reservists.

The 31-year-old became one of the faces of Glasgow 2014 when he let out a roar as he won gold in front of a packed SECC arena.

 

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He says he is “really worried” about the UK forces not being able to “get the job done” in future.

The UK Government is aiming to double the number of reservist to 30,000 by 2018 in what some critics have said is a move to provide defence “on the cheap”.

A 2010 review announced that the number of regular soldiers will be reduced by 20,000.

Mr Sherrington said: “I’m not a big fan of the whole reservist things that’s going on. If you are military, you should be military full time, not for a couple of weekends here and there.

“Some of the reservists are former full-time and some of those guys will be very well worked and very well into it.

“There are a lot of hardcore guys that love doing it, but when you do stuff day in and day out you can’t compare it with somebody who doesn’t.”

He added: “Put it this way: if I, as an Olympic athlete, hadn’t trained every day, three times a day, five or six times a week, I would never have got there; I would probably have struggled to maintain being No. 1 in Britain.

“It’s that same level and commitment that people in the forces put in.”

Speaking about his concerns about resources he said: “We’re in a really bad state in the forces. There are more things happening all over the world and we are reducing our numbers. I think the whole world can see things happening.

“We have always punched above our weight but I’m really worried there’s going to be a time when we can’t punch above our weight and we can’t get the job done, and it’s not like you can just pull people out of thin air.”

An MoD spokesman said: “We are very proud of marine Chris Sherrington’s achievements, both in the armed forces sport, and it is good news that he has decided to pursue his career in the Royal Marines.

“He should have no concerns because we are increasing defence spending in real terms every year and meeting the Nato 2% [of GDP defence spending] target for the rest of the decade, underlining the government’s commitment to defence and the national security of our country.

“Our Future Force 2020 plans also ensure that we have an agile, adaptable force in which regulars and reservists complement each other to meet the security challenges we face.”

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