Published: 6 July, 2012
by STEVE BARNETT & NICK ATKINS
Youngsters made Islington proud as they battled for their borough in the grand finals of Europe’s largest annual youth sports event.
Athletes from all 33 London boroughs converged on the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre to take part in the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games at the weekend and the London Mini Games and School Games on Thursday.
Among the star performers was swimmer Frederick Cornwell, who believes he is in for a golden summer after storming to victory in the junior boy’s 50m backstroke in a new personal best of 28.74 seconds.
It was the perfect way for the
13-year-old to prepare for his assault on the ASA National Age Group and Youth Championships, which take place at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge later this month. “I’m very happy with how I performed, especially because my time was a personal best, which I really wasn’t expecting,” he said.
“I’m doing eight events at Sheffield later this month so this was a great warm-up for me. Last year I won seven gold medals there so this year I’m hoping to go one better.”
Team-mate Dominic McLoughlin also booked a spot on the podium after winning a bronze in the senior boys’ 50m freestyle. And, despite not living up to his own high standards, the 17-year-old was still content to walk away with a medal. “This is my first bronze at the London Youth Games – I’ve had three golds and three silvers before,” he said. “Obviously I’ve done better in the past but I’m happy to take this – a medal is a medal so I’ve got no complaints.”
Overall Islington entered 38 teams into 31 different sports, achieving 21 top-20 placings and 12 placings between 21st and 25th. They also entered seven sports for the first time, including squash, female cricket, angling, indoor rowing and male judo.
Mayor Jilani Chowdhury showed his support as he turned up on Sunday to cheer on the competitors.
Islington’s top results included that of the girls’ disability swimming team who finished fourth; the boys’ disability swimming team seventh; and the boys’ disability football team ninth.
Notable improvements came in the boys’ cricket, where the team from Highbury Grove School progressed from 25th last year to a third-place finish in the play-offs at Lord’s.
The male table tennis team also improved by eight placings to achieve ninth overall, while the male basketball team from St Aloysius moved up six spots to finish fifth.
The female volleyball team from Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School also did well to climb 10 places to achieve fifth this year.
Overall Islington finished 28th with 826 points.
Balfour Beatty have agreed to support the London Youth Games through to at least 2015, meaning £1.1million of funding post 2012 and a total contribution of £2.5million since 2007.