Catford official calls time on London Youth Games career

News Shopper: Anthony Kendall (left) with London mayor Boris Johnson and world 400m champion Christine Ohuruogo Anthony Kendall (left) with London mayor Boris Johnson and world 400m champion Christine Ohuruogo

Catford’s Anthony Kendall is stepping down as chairman after 30 years at the forefront of organising the London Youth Games.

He has chaired Europe’s largest annual youth sports event on two occasions, from 1984 to 1990 and from 2004 to the present day, having served on the board throughout this period.

Mr Kendall believes the recent success of the London Youth Games owes much to the long-term support from title sponsors, which is the type of support the organisation could not always rely on during the 1980s and 1990s.

“One year we were only about three months out from the regatta and we had to cancel it because we hadn’t got the resources to put it on,” he recalls.

“But long-term funding has enabled us to really develop sport.

“For example, our handball event has had four years as a development event and now this year it is going to be a fully-fledged event taking place in the Copper Box Arena.

“That takes time and development.

“You can’t do that if you haven’t got the funds.”

Mr Kendall added he always planned to call time on his London Youth Games involvement now after three decades of loyal service.

“I said three or four years ago when I hit 70 it would be a good moment to step away.

“I’ll miss it enormously, but I’m confident that it is in a really strong place for the future.

“The last six years have been fantastic, something which I would put down to a range of things - where sport is politically, the winning of the Olympics and changes in funding for sport.

“It has meant we have been in a much better position to deliver.

“We’ve gone from 25,000 to a 100,000 people competing which has been amazing.

“We have also re-established great relationships with people who have taken part in the London Youth Games in the past, who really appreciate their involvement like London 2012 superstars Christine Ohuruogu, Mo Farah and David Weir.

“The clichéd term they all use is that it was like their first Olympics.”

To find out more about the competing or volunteering at London Youth Games, visit londonyouthgames.org or follow @ldnyouthgames on Twitter

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