OLYMPIAN OHURUOGU CALLS FOR SUPPORT FOR THE LONDON YOUTH GAMES
Jon Hughes, the CEO of London Youth Games, has called on London’s leaders and businessmen to invest in the sporting event to help safeguard its future.
The largest youth sports festival in Europe has recruited several of its star-studded alumni to help carry its message to all corners of the country, which include a host of Team GB members, Commonwealth medallists and decorated Olympians.
The Games, which is celebrating its 41st year following yet another successful finals weekend at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, requires funding in order for it to continue in its current scale.
“We passed 1.5 million competitors since the Games first started 41 years ago this year,” Hughes explained. “This really underlines the scale of the event and the importance of it being able to continue in its current form so future generations can take part in the same numbers.”
“There is no other event and organisation better at uniting young people from across all London’s 33 Boroughs and communities than the London Youth Games,” he continued.
The Games, which culminate in an annual finals weekend in Crystal Palace each July, have helped nurture and mature some of England’s greatest sporting stars including Rio Ferdinand, Linford Christie, Mo Farah and many others.
In attendance at the finals weekend this week showing their support were Olympic Champion Christine Ohuruogu, former Commonwealth Champion Zoe Smith and Team GB athletes Cheriece and Shannon Hylton.
The former of the quartet, Ohuruogu, was very vocal in her support for the campaign, entitled #SupportYourGames, stating that if investors and authorities are serious about grassroots sport, “then you have to be serious about supporting something like this.”
The 34-year-old 400m specialist began her career competing at the Youth Games, participating as part of the netball and athletics team for the London Borough of Newham. She continued: “I definitely think sport has helped mould me as a person, even as a youngster. It’s something we shouldn’t just talk about; we need to invest properly.”
This year saw over 6,000 participants compete across a range of sports at the finals weekend from the 5th-8th July, while a further 120,000+ competed across 30 sports and 11 para-sports during the nine-month season.
Bromley were crowned champions on a dramatic final day, where they entered Sunday equal on points with Hackney, only to pull away at the last, critical opportunity. The achievement signifies the third consecutive year the borough has topped the Jubilee Trophy standings.
Jon Hughes, CEO of the London Youth Games:
“This year’s London Youth Games and our finals weekend, which saw over 6,000 competitors take part, have yet again showcased the positive impact sport has on the lives of young people from communities across our city. I want to congratulate everyone who took part.
“It was also significant as we passed 1.5 million competitors since the Games first started 41 years ago. This really underlines the scale of the event and the importance of it being able to continue in its current form so future generations can take part in the same numbers.”
Christine Ohuruogu, Olympic Champion and LYG alumna:
“It’s always been good coming back to the Games, I’ve been here a few times but I’ve always made a point to let London Youth Games that I’ll always come back – they know that they can call on me and I’ll never say no! It’s a pleasure to be here, I competed here so I know how important it is for the kids to see what they can achieve.
“I think the good thing about turning up here and knowing that you attended is that they see there is not much of a difference between where they’re starting. People feel more encouraged when they can see you’re just like them and you were just like them. It’s important for all of us that have attended to let these kids know that we started just like you. I came in playing netball, but I still went on to play for England under 17s, I also raced here as well, the kids see that you’re supporting them by being there – it must make a whole world of a difference.
“We always talk about legacy, and this is legacy. If we’re serious about it, then you have to be serious about supporting something like this – because this is legacy. This is getting kids into sporting events, they’re trying all different kinds of stuff – they have tri-golf this year – so you have to support this event if you’re serious about making sport a mainstay in our community, it’s all about grassroots sport.
“Not everyone will go on to compete at the Olympics, but we still need people to compete, we still want youngsters to appreciate the values that sport gives you. I definitely think sport has helped mould me as a person, even as a youngster. It’s something we shouldn’t just talk about, we need to invest properly.”
Susana Tavares, Bromley Borough Team Organiser, said:
“Everyone worked really hard; the boys and girls were fantastic! The wonderful work Team Managers do is valuable and really comes through in the results achieved. Everyone’s efforts contributed to this third consecutive win – Well done Team Bromley!
“We had everything to play for. The 2018 edition started really well with podium results in the Cross Country, Cricket and Para Games Boccia events. Competition was fierce, we had great opposition, and it was great to see our boys and girls focus despite the pressure, and pulled through in the end.
“The LYG provides us with a great opportunity to engage with voluntary sports clubs and schools from across the Borough to enter their young people into a London-wide competition. It provides a fantastic platform to showcase young people in a positive light and profile the breadth of sporting talent in the Borough.”