ON THE BALL: Girls’ basketball will be part of the summer programme
THE 2015 Balfour Beatty London Youth Games, part of the nationwide School Games, is set to be the biggest ever in its 38 year history, as organisers took to build on the record 126,897 participants who took part in last year’s event.
Europe’s largest annual youth sports event is expanding to 40 event days through to July comprising 31 sports, 50 disciplines and 93 competitions.
By way of comparison, the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games took place over 31 days including 29 sports featuring 15,262 athletes.
The London Youth Games will visit 20 venues across 16 London boroughs including Olympic host venues Lords’ Cricket Ground and the Copper Box Arena and eight Olympic training venues including the National Sports Centre, Crystal Palace - the spiritual home of the London Youth Games which hosts the finals on July 2-5 .
There will also be the widest ever ParaGames programme with competition opportunities available for disability competitors in indoor rowing, tennis, boccia, swimming, athletics, football, sailing, basketball and cricket.
The latter is a brand new addition; the inclusive cricket competition for competitors with a learning difficulty will take place at Lord’s Indoor School on June 10.
Patron of the 2015 London Youth Games is former competitor and England Women’s Rugby World Cup winner Maggie Alphonsi.
The rugby star said: “The London Youth Games is where I first took up rugby and really got the bug for it.
Representing my borough was very special and gave me the motivation and direction to push on.
“For any young Londoner, the London Youth Games is an incredible event to be part. It opens doors and opens your eyes to a wider world of sport with thousands of other like-minded people from all across London.
Other former competitors at the London Youth Games include double Olympic champion Mo Farah, quadruple Paralympic champion David Weir and Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins.