London Youth Games' Finals Festival inspires a new generation of sporting heroes

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was transformed into an electrifying hub of sporting excellence as thousands of young Londoners gathered to compete in the highly anticipated London Youth Games' Finals Festival.

Over the weekend of July 1-2, 5,000 participants competed in the London Youth Games finals of athletics, tennis, BMX, swimming, road cycling, basketball, volleyball, netball, hockey, aquathlon and table tennis in venues like Copper Box Arena, Lee Valley VeloPark, Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre and London Aquatics Centre – just like the heroes of the 2012 Olympics.

Sporting icons like Sir Mo Farah, Sir Bradley Wiggins and Christine Ohuruogu all cut their teeth at the London Youth Games and this year’s participants were inspired by competing at the very same venues, building on the Olympic legacy of the past 11 years.

The Finals Festival marked the culmination of over fifty qualifying events in more than thirty sports, held across London since early February. It was an extraordinary gathering, with over 10,000 participants and spectators coming together at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

They were cheered on by some of Great Britain’s sporting heroes including Christine Ohuruogu, England and Great Britain hockey star Tess Howard, Paralympic Commonwealth gold winner Emmanuel Coker and London Lions basketball players Shanice Beckford-Norton, Savannah Wilkinson and Bradley Kaboza.

Former London Youth Games participant and Olympic gold medallist Christine Ohuruogu was at the event and said: “The talent at London Youth Games is pretty impressive – I really enjoyed watching the relays. It was great seeing athletes come up with multiple medals around their necks – that tells you these guys are on a really good start!” 

Tony Wallace, Regional Director at GLL, who operate the venues, said: "Congratulations to everyone involved in the London Youth Games, everyone taking part played a huge role in its success. It was a tremendous privilege for our venues to be integral to this remarkable occasion, where aspirations were pursued, bonds were forged, and champions emerged. It was amazing to see so many Boroughs coming together to compete and showcase the future of sport.”

LYG Foundation Chair Prof. Geoff Thompson MBE added: “What an incredible weekend it was – watching these young people from all different backgrounds across the capital come together and celebrate the role sport can have in our communities. We’re so proud to be able to offer young Londoners an opportunity to use these world class facilities – it’s the Olympic legacy in the purest sense.”