Islington win Most Improved Award at 2022 London Youth Games

Islington celebrate at the London Youth Games Kayak Sprint & Slalom event at Lee Valley White Water Centre

Islington celebrate at the London Youth Games Kayak Sprint & Slalom event at Lee Valley White Water Centre - Credit: www.jgmoloney.com

Young people in Islington made huge strides at the 45th London Youth Games, winning the Most Improved Award after their best performance on record in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year.

The Most Improved Award is awarded to only one of the 33 London boroughs and Islington climbed the ranks with an incredible improvement of 13 places, moving up to 15th having finished 28th in 2019.

Daniel Bank, Islington Borough Team Organiser, said: “Team Islington have been on a voyage to take more pride in representing the borough and ensuring sporting pathways are in place to maximise performance at London Youth Games. This award and achieving our best finish on record is tangible evidence to Islington’s progress.

"We entered 25 competitions so there were plenty of opportunities for youngsters to experience the benefits of the LYG season. Islington were remarkably consistent across all events with a few clear highlights such as the girls' football. Thank you to everyone who participated and those who supported. The journey doesn’t stop here and preparation is already underway for next season!"

Councillor Nurullah Turan, Executive Member for Health and Social Care in Islington, added: “I'm absolutely thrilled and delighted for all of the young people that took part in this year’s London Youth Games and so proud of the success they have achieved this year. 

"Our council is determined to give the borough's young people the best possible start in life and that includes supporting them to live active, healthy lives. We know how important sport and physical activity is for our young people’s health and well being but also in helping them to learn new skills, build confidence, friendships and a sense of achievement. 

"We want all young people to have access to sport and physical activity and have positive experiences of it that will set them up for the rest of their lives. The London Youth Games helps to do that and we are delighted to be able support and participate in this great initiative."

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Islington’s greatest successes came in Kayak Slalom, Boys Athletics and Girls Football.

They paddled to silver medals at Lee Valley White Water Centre in May, competing at the world-class Olympic venue where the London 2012 Olympics took place, and just before the UEFA Women’s Euros started in July, Islington finished third in the Girls' Football competition after competing against 24 boroughs. 

Islington celebrate at the 2022 London Youth Games football competition

Islington celebrate at the 2022 London Youth Games football competition - Credit: Zarief Akhtar/LYG

Islington finished the season with a bang too, winning third-place medals at the hotly contested Boys Athletics at London 2012 Olympic legacy venue, Lee Valley Athletics Centre.

Xavier, a player in the Islington football team, said: “It’s really cool to have this competition so close to the Euros because it’s such a big part of football. It’s quite incredible to think that we could be the next generation."

Sophie added: "This competition’s fun because I get to play for my borough. Women don’t get recognised as much so it means I can do something for my community."

Kayla, a player in the Islington girls' cricket team, said: "It feels really good to be in these kind of competitions because it gets your spirits up and we get to work as a team together."

Geoff Thompson MBE, Chair of London Youth Games, added: ““Congratulations to Islington and all those involved in London Youth Games. In a 2012 Olympic and Paralympic 10th Anniversary year, Sport, and London Youth Games is a great unifier in bringing communities together. 

"Each one of us is aware of lives being lost on London’s streets and I believe sport and London Youth Games has such an important role in boosting our young people’s life chances, creating opportunities, and ultimately saving lives. 

"I became Chair of London Youth Games to give more young people the chance to participate in the Games and I want to create a youth games where every single young Londoner wants to be involved in some way, assisted by all the agencies who support our efforts, providing a real and lasting legacy opportunity for all."