London Youth Games chief calls for help to save event
PUBLISHED: 16:30 04 July 2018
Jon Hughes, chief executive of the London Youth Games, has called on the capital's leaders and businesses to come forward and safeguard its future.
The Games are the largest youth sports event in Europe and has helped launch for the careers of some of the biggest names in sport, with this year’s event culminating this weekend at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.
Now in its 41st year, the Games sees all 33 London boroughs face each other in a friendly yet competitive environment and Hughes said: “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.
“Taking part helps young people’s personal development, physical and mental health, and helps to ensure that they feel a part of their local community and their city.”
Sport England and the 33 London boroughs have played pivotal roles in supporting and delivering the Games, but Hughes admitted further financial support is required in order for them to continue at its current level.
“We are at a crossroads in terms of what we need in order to secure the future of London Youth Games and to make sure that young people from across the city do not miss out on this amazing experience,” he added.
“We’re calling on London’s leaders and businesses to come forward and help safeguard its future.”
Many current and past stars began their careers competing in the Games as children, including Sir Mo Farah, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Christine Ohuruogu, Alex Scott, Dina Asher-Smith, Linford Christie and Rio Ferdinand.
A total of 1.5million Londoners have taken part in London Youth Games and this year over 130,000 young people will compete across 30 sports and 11 para-sports.
Zoe Smith, a Commonwealth bronze, silver and gold medalist, has been one of many notable alumni to pay tribute to the Games’ influence on their career.
The 24-year-old said: “I don’t think I would have ever got into weightlifting if it wasn’t for London Youth Games, so I have a lot to thank it for. It was the making of me really.
“We should be so proud to have something like this in London. It gives young people the chance to meet new friends and benefit from a whole range of things from improving their confidence from learning about respect and fair play.”
For more information, visit londonyouthgames.org.