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De-light as torch brightens up youngsters

PUBLISHED: 17:44 25 June 2008 | UPDATED: 12:44 11 August 2010

Pr Shoot - London Youth Games PR Shoot 16/06/2008 - London - 16/6/08

Dagenham / LYG Torch

Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Andrew Couldridge

Pr Shoot - London Youth Games PR Shoot 16/06/2008 - London - 16/6/08 Dagenham / LYG Torch Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Andrew Couldridge

THE Balfour Beatty London Youth Games official torch visited Barking & Dagenham last week as part of its tour of the capital. The Mayor of the borough, Councillor Emmanuel Obasohan, was presented with the torch by a group of competitors from the borough

THE Balfour Beatty London Youth Games' official torch visited Barking & Dagenham last week as part of its tour of the capital.

The Mayor of the borough, Councillor Emmanuel Obasohan, was presented with the torch by a group of competitors from the borough's Youth Games Team at Robert Clack School (pictured right).

"Barking's ultimate goal in this year's London Youth Games is gold. Our youths are our strength for a greater tomorrow," said Mayor Obasohan.

The torch is travelling across all 32 London Boroughs and the City of London on its way to Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, where the finals weekend will be held over the weekend of July 5-6.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, started the tour at the launch of the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games on June 4 and he was joined by a group of London school children as he lit the torch outside City Hall.

Commenting at the launch, Johnson said: "At a time when our capital is dealing with a tragic wave of teenage violence, it's more important than ever that events like the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games exist, which offer young people the chance to get off the streets and represent their local community in a positive way.

"That is why I am thrilled to offer my support to the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games during my Mayoral term. Many thousands of young Londoners from across the Boroughs have benefited from the event over the 31 years it has been running, and I'm sure many more will do so in future."

This year's Balfour Beatty London Youth Games will see 25,000 young Londoners take part in 33 different sports over the next month, from cycling to athletics and sailing to weightlifting.

The London-wide event, funded by both the private and public sectors, began in 1977 and since then it has been a vital nurturing ground for some of Britain's most famous sports stars.

Past Balfour Beatty London Youth Games competitors include cyclist Bradley Wiggins, 400m runner Christine Ohuruogu, distance runner Mo Farah, footballer Rio Ferdinand and NBA superstar Luol Deng.

With only four years to go until the Olympic and Paralympic Games arrive in the capital, the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games also hopes to play a major role in helping aspiring athletes fulfill their dreams of representing their country on home soil.

The Balfour Beatty London Youth Games has become the largest youth sports programme in Europe with the support of a huge variety of public and private sector organisations.

This year is Balfour Beatty's first as the event's headline sponsor, after they recently pledged to invest £1.7 million into the event until 2013. Other major backers include Sport England London Region, the Greater London Authority, London Councils, London South Bank University, Choice FM and Thames Water.

Ian Tyler, Balfour Beatty chief executive, said: "Balfour Beatty is delighted to be the London Youth Games' headline sponsor for the first time this year.

"The Games are a fantastic way of promoting participation in sport at an early age and demonstrate the power of sport to enhance and transform the lives of young people."

The annual Balfour Beatty London Youth Games are open to anyone aged between seven and 17 and each of the 32 London Boroughs and the City of London will enter teams in as many of the 33 sports as possible.

More details about the Games can be found at www.londonyouthgames.org


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