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Team Islington show ‘ability and passion’ at London Youth Games

Talented youngsters make borough proud as the London Youth Games, ParaGames and School Games come to a hugely successful climax with events including sailing and archery

12 July, 2019 — By Steve Barnett

Islington boys’ handballers can’t contain their delight at striking gold

THERE was medal magic for Team Islington over the weekend when they sailed, swam and sped their way to glory during Europe’s largest annual sports celebration.

Hundreds of youngsters earned the chance to represent the borough during the 42nd edition of the London Youth Games, ParaGames and School Games, which came to a climax at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.

The competition had got underway back in November with the cross-country, and since then Islington have gone on to compete in 15 of the 30 sports available to them.

Islington’s junior badminton players, who finished joint-19th at the Youth Games

Overall they finished in 28th place out of the capital’s 33 boroughs, down seven places on their efforts in 2018.

Dexter Cobbing on his way to gold in the BMX

Despite the drop, team organiser Mike Bishop said there was plenty to be proud of, adding that Islington’s young sports stars and coaches have already turned their attentions towards the next campaign.

The BMX team – Dexter Cobbing, Ziggy Hitchenor, Rudi Downs and Chance O’Leary – rode to 15th place in the event held at Merton BMX Club

“I came into this post part way through this season and it has been a great experience so far,” he said.

James Crossley – Islington’s only competitor in the sailing event – came away with a gold

“I’ve seen local talent across many different sports, from sailing and swimming to BMX and handball. It’s been a real eye-opener to see what ability and passion there is in the borough.

The Islington girls’ football team, who finished in joint-17th place

“Preparations for next season will begin over the coming weeks and we hope to enter more sports next year and climb the London Youth Games’ Jubilee Trophy table.”

Islington archers, Ellie Gibbs and Maryam Syed, taking part in their first outdoor competition

Among the highlights in this year’s competition was Islington boys handballers, who built on the bronze medal they won last time out by striking gold. The triumphant team – made up of St Aloysius College pupils Leo Wiafe, Richard Sigobodhla, Ferdinand Badu, Brandon Tchouya, Kwajo Shakane, Jesse Bawuan, Barnabas Berhanu, Hameed Ojubanire, Vitalis Ntang-Ndase, Jean-Pierre Bonaparte and Joel Allen – won all eight of their matches to get to the final, where they beat Haringey 11-6 to be crowned champions.

The boys’ football team won bronze after making it to the semi-finals

There was also improvement in the individual stakes with speedster Dexter Cobbing, who bagged a bronze medal in the BMX 12 months ago, returning to grab gold in the boys’ ages 9 to 10 years race. Held at Merton BMX Club in Mitcham, Dexter and his fellow riders, Ziggy Hitchenor, Rudi Downs and Chance O’Leary, helped their borough to 15th place in the event.

The Islington boys’ basketball team, who just missed out on the medals after finishing fifth in the Year 12 and Under competition at the Youth Games

Islington entered just one boy into the sailing competition, and James Crossley didn’t disappoint, coming away with the gold medal in the topper event.

Islington’s Alessandra Sella, right, won bronze in the cycling road race

Swimmers from Anaconda Swimming Club, led by coaches Wayne Lock and Joe Grubb, also made a splash. The girls’ squads excelled, winning a bronze medal in both the junior and senior medley relays. There were also individual medals for Mabel Hayes, who won silver in the junior girls’ 50m freestyle, and Lily Waite, who won bronze in the junior girls’ 50m butterfly.

Callum Love represents Islington in the table tennis

These combined achievements helped lead Islington’s girls’ squad to an overall team bronze – a fantastic achievement in a fiercely contested competition.

Preparing to take aim in the archery

The boys’ football team also scored a bronze medal after making it all the way to the semi-finals.

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