June 20 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Fifth-place finish at the Youth Games
Redbridge badminton player Neil Malde breathed a huge sigh of relief after holding his nerve to lift gold at the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games finals.
The 17-year-old was getting his first taste of the action, which this year saw 15,000 young competitors battle it out for all 33 London boroughs across 17 sports.
Malde didn’t make it to finals weekend last year, but more than made up for such a disappointment as he helped the borough collect the badminton title this time around, a marked improvement on the ninth-place finish from 2011.
And it was Wanstead High School pupil Malde who marked the occasion, winning the final game to secure a narrow 3-2 win over Hounslow and with it wrap up first place.
As finals weekend debuts go you couldn’t have asked for one much better than Malde’s, but the teenager was quick to praise the whole team’s effort in finishing top of the pile.
“I am really happy that we have finished with the badminton title, it was a really good effort,” he said. “I was part of the team last year, but we didn’t qualify for the final so to not only qualify this time around, but go on and win it all is fantastic.
“The final was really good and the atmosphere was fantastic, it was a bit nervy with me having to win the final game, but I am just glad I managed to do it.
“But it wasn’t all just about me. We played well as a team and everyone did their job. It was a really good effort from everyone and it was needed to finish with the gold.”
Malde and co’s badminton success was one of three gold medals the borough collected over the finals weekend as they placed fifth overall, the other victories coming in archery, boys’ hockey and cricket, which had been staged earlier.
The borough also finished second in the indoor rowing competition, trampolining and male disability football and collected bronze in the girls’ squash.
But 14-year-old Nathan Leong ensured he wasn’t ignored as he finished second in the junior boys’ 50 metre butterfly, helping Redbridge finish eighth in the boys’ swimming competition.
“I wasn’t really expecting much because the last time I trained was eight months ago,” said Leong.
“I just came here to do the best I could, so to come away with a silver medal is a very nice surprise. The London Youth Games is a really fun event to come down to. It’s great that you get to compete against other boroughs.”
Churchfields Junior School represented Redbridge in the cricket event and beat Sutton, Bexley and Hackney along the way.
The South Woodford-based school also participated in the boys’ football, where they obtained fifth spot after victories over Barnet, Newham, Brent and City of London.
Balfour Beatty have agreed to support the London Youth Games through to at least 2015, meaning £1.1m worth of funding post-2012 and a total contribution of £2.5m since 2007