RAF News

RAF sportsman and sportswoman 2021

Shona holds a trophy in Skiing kit.
Senior Aircraftwoman Shona Brownlee, member of the Great Britain Para-alpine squad.

The RAF recognises how important sports is for the mental and physical wellbeing of its workforce and is supporting several athletes through the games.  The RAF Sports Awards celebrate the achievements of our athletes, coaches, teams, administrators and others.

RAF Sportswoman of the Year 2021

Senior Aircraftwoman Shona Brownlee, RAF Musician, also enjoys competing in sit-skiing.  She will now take to the slopes as part of the Great Britain Para-alpine team, training for the Beijing Paralympics games in February 2022.  

In 2012, Shona sustained an ankle injury during training, leaving her on crutches for almost six years before undergoing an amputation below the knee. 

Shona’s injury prevented her from performing with the Marching Band, but the RAF supported her through a Rehabilitation programme.  Years later, Shona can continue her much-loved career and even join graduation parades at RAF Halton.

Shona skiing down a slope, mountains and village in the background.

It was during the Rehabilitation programme that Shona discovered RAF sports and the many opportunities it offers.  Skiing was initially, "time away as a bit of fun, a break from things," for Shona; she had never tried it before, let alone have access to the kit required.  But with a winning mentality and persistence, Shona began to hone her talent, overcoming many falls, crashes, black eyes and bruises.

"It is all combining well, at the start of my injury I was told all the things I could not do, my answer was why not? I will prove to you I can."

Senior Aircraftwoman Shona Brownlee

She later competed in the Europa Cup and North American Cup races, earning 11 gold, 12 silver and two bronze medals and a World Cup.  Shona qualified for the Beijing Paralympic 2022 Games, for which the RAF support her while she trains full time.

"The RAF has literally got me back on my feet and helped me achieve these highs in my sport.  I love music and did not want to give up my day job either."

Senior Aircraftwoman Shona Brownlee

RAF Sportsman of the Year 2021

Flight Lieutenant Jon Maflin is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitor.

In 2012, Jon found Brazilian Jiu Jitsu after failing the selection process for an RAF Officer.  The sport gave Jon time to reflect on his career knock back and mature, before going on to reapply and achieve the highest level of recommendation on his report.

Jon and opponent on the Jiu Jitsu mat.
Flight Lieutenant Jon Maflin.

The RAF supports Jon’s pursuit of martial arts, while furthering his RAF career.  He now pushes to pursue elite athlete status and develop the Inter-Station league for competing in the Inter-Services championships.  He also works to further and develop his RAF career.

"Jiu Jitsu helped me get into the RAF provide Jon a platform to go from part-time competitor all the way up to World Champion in 2019."

Flight Lieutenant Jon Maflin

Jon found martial arts grew his robustness, and ability to cope with stress and deal with failure – to fix what went wrong, rather than blaming others, "this way, the next time, you come back stronger, better able to overcome that adversity."

Jon wearing Jiu Jitsu robes.

The RAF congratulate Shona and Jon on their sporting successes

Read about our other RAF athletes

Hear more about our RAF athletes in episode 18 InsideAIR

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