London Youth Games reflect on a successful 2021 and look forward to a celebratory 2022

20th Jan 2022
Yolanda Martin

Building on the successful Virtual Games in 2020, in 2021 we delivered both virtual and in-person events for young Londoners with the aim of looking after their physical and mental health at what was an incredibly difficult time. Our events were accessible, inclusive and provided life-changing opportunities through the power of sport for tens of thousands of young people across London.

Achievements of the year included:

Virtual Cross Country

This saw a record 3,894 young Londoners represent their boroughs by running the traditional cross-country distance in their own communities. This was more than double the number of runners we would usually welcome to Parliament Hill for our Cross Country event.

Virtual Dance

The inclusive virtual dance event ran over six-weeks and reached over 2,000 young people. It ran in partnership with Step Change Studios to support both disabled and non disabled people to dance.

Virtual Inclusive Games

This programme – designed and delivered by disabled young Londoners – achieved over 12,000 entries within a six-week period. The project put disabled young people front and centre when they were the most isolated in society.  We were hugely proud to be shortlisted for a London Sport award for this work.

Hilmy, a disabled young person who assisted in the development and delivery of the Virtual Inclusive Games, said: “The inclusive virtual games meant so much to me getting involved because as a disabled person I didn’t have many opportunities when I was young until the London Youth Games and I had a chance to represent Ealing. I knew a number of athletes that took part in the Virtual Inclusive Games who were extremely happy taking part because they felt included as a disabled person and that’s what we all want.”

Virtual Run Series

We piloted our Run Series concept in May – a virtual series in which young Londoners logged distances for their boroughs. This attracted 2,880 entries travelling an incredible 7293.5km over the course of a fortnight – the distance from London to China!

LYG33 School Games Fitness Challenges

A fantastic 80,000 young Londoners benefitted from our School Games challenges. The challenges were recorded and set by members of our LYG 33 group – a group of young Londoners aged 14-21 who are helping to shape the future of London Youth Games.

Face to Face events

It was great to see over 2,500 competitors back at events including Kayaking, BMX, tennis, archery, netball, road cycling and hockey.

We stayed true to our beliefs throughout our planning and delivery. The beliefs that sport is a right for all, sport improves physical and mental wellbeing and sport is a key driver of social integration remained at the forefront through the 2021 season.


Looking forward to a celebratory 2022

2022 promises so much for London Youth Games.

Did you know that London Youth Games was one of the projects set up to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s silver jubilee?

That was 45 years ago. We’re proud that London Youth Games is one of the only projects still going – out of all those that were set up then.

Moreover, this year marks our 45th anniversary since the first ever London Youth Games in 1977. This February will see the launch of celebrations to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. London Youth Games has never been more relevant for the health and wellbeing of young Londoners than it is right now.

It is also 10 years since this incredible city hosted the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

This year, young Londoners will be able to rekindle memories with our 2022 event programme. We’re delighted that both the London Youth Games kayaking and road cycling events are being held at London 2012 venues. Our nation will host the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this year. It’s a real opportunity to rejuvenate sport and physical activity for young people after such a challenging time. We look forward to sharing some exciting Commonwealth Games legacy news so watch this space!

Our chief executive Andy Dalby-Welsh said: “We were hugely proud of what we achieved through the Games year 2021 whilst battling against the pandemic. Young people remaining active was so important on so many levels but not least for their mental wellbeing.

Continuing to stay relevant and to keep meeting the needs of all young Londoners is our biggest priority. We’re committed and excited to keep creating life-changing opportunities for young Londoners for at least another 45 years.”