12:19pm Wednesday 16th May 2012
By Ben Baker
LEWISHAM team leader Matt Henaughan admits he has challenged the borough’s youngsters to surprise him and everyone else at this summer’s Balfour Beatty London Youth Games.
The 30-year-old will lead Lewisham at the finals weekend of Europe’s largest annual youth sports event in June for the fourth time in a row, looking to build on last year’s 15th-place finish.
Lewisham moved up 10 places from 2010, mainly down to the borough winning two sports they hadn’t entered the year before as they claimed gold in both boccia and female gymnastics.
And while Henaughan admits he has no idea where this year’s winners will come from, he is adamant they will arrive sooner rather than later.
“This year we are hoping to continue climbing up the table as last year we were pretty pleased with where we finished,” he said.
“The best thing about last year was the fact we excelled in sports that we previously hadn’t even entered a team for.
“In boccia our team played it twice before the actual competition and then came down on the day and won the whole thing which was brilliant.
“That is the great thing about the London Youth Games, it helps kids get into sports they don’t normally have access to and I can’t wait to be surprised by a few more this time around.”
Lewisham won four sports in total last year, also taking the boys’ basketball and football titles while finishing in the top three of the boys’ disability football and swimming and girls’ disability athletics.
And Henaughan believes it could well be a similar story this year.
“If I had to say which ones we are strong in this year I would say the sports that we did well in last year,” he added.
“We won the boys basketball last year and we look strong there again and also in the girls gymnastics.”
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.
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