Sutton athletes chalked up some notable performances in the finals weekend at the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games at Crystal Palace on 4 and 5 July.
Around 150 competitors from Sutton aged between nine and 17 took part in a range of sports at the finals weekend. They joined thousands of other young athletes from all London boroughs in the annual mini-Olympics-style sports festival.
Sutton's entry into the competition was co-ordinated by Sutton Council, working in partnership with local schools, club groups and individuals involved in sport across the borough. All the sports teams were managed and trained by an army of volunteer sport coaches from across Sutton's local sports clubs.
Despite the blistering heat, there were many outstanding team and individual performances by Sutton athletes. Among the highlights was the success of Sutton’s mixed badminton team, who finally pulled off the victory they have been hoping for, following on from their second places the past two years. Sutton beat Havering in a very tense final, with the result hinging on the boys singles match, which lasted over an hour and was won by Sutton by a few close points.
Also victorious was the Sutton girls squash team who took home the trophy for a record fourth year in a row. The boys squash team was not far behind, coming away with the bronze team award, the team’s first-ever medal.
Most of the players in both squash teams are members of Sutton Tennis and Squash Club. Star of the show was Leon Griffiths who helped secure the trophy and gold team medal for Sutton by winning his singles badminton match on Saturday. He then followed this up on Sunday by helping the boys squash bronze medal-winning performance.
Other teams in action included the netball team, who matched their best ever performance with a fifth team place. The girls athletics team also matched this sixth place result – a huge 18-place improvement over last year.
The mixed cycling team also fared well by finishing eighth – up 10 places on last year, and then finished with an individual silver medal in the gruelling road race.
Individual medals were also won by Sutton competitors in the athletics, aquathlon, girls swimming and sailing competitions.
The annual London Youth Games competition kicked off in November with the cross country event, all the way through to Sunday evening, 5 July – with Sutton finishing in 19th place in the overall championship, out of all 33 London Boroughs. More than 300 young individual athletes have represented Sutton this year in 29 different sports events across London.
Throughout the year there were weeks and months of open sports trials and training sessions at various venues in Sutton, leading up to the Games’ finals. Last month the girls judo team regained the girls judo trophy and other teams who fared well were the boys paragames swimming, who won a whole clutch of individual medals as well as the bronze team medal.
Cllr Jill Whitehead, Liberal Democrat Chair of Sutton Council’s Environment and Neighbourhood Committee, said: “We want to congratulate all of our young athletes who took part in the London Youth Games as well as those who came away with medals. This was a fantastic achievement and one that the borough should be proud of. Sutton is undoubtedly a hotbed of sporting talent and we look forward to further achievements in the coming months.”