Hackney strike gold and retain their weightlifting title at London Youth Games

Borough improve on last year to finish 16th in Jubilee Trophy

Hackney flexed their muscles at the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games last weekend – grabbing weightlifting gold for the second year in a row at Crystal Palace.

With rivals Greenwich deprived of the services of Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Zoe Smith, Hackney cruised to gold thanks to Kym Pham and Omarie Mearns, successfully defending their title from 12 months ago.

Victory demonstrates Hackney’s continued improvement when it comes to weightlifting, having found themselves bottom of the pile just five years ago.

It proved to be the only team gold medal for Hackney across the finals weekend – which saw all 33 London boroughs compete across 18 sports at the National Sports Centre.

However there was reason to celebrate for the girls’ basketball team who managed to finish third to claim a bronze medal.

With those medals, the borough managed to finish the Jubilee Trophy standings in 16th overall, up a total of seven places from their 23rd-place finish last year.

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Other impressive results included fifth place in the cycling event, but on the athletics track there was not such good news, as Dorica Santos ended up seventh in the girls’ 100m final.

The 14-year-old Victoria Park Harriers and Tower Hamlets sprinter had been in impressive form at the English Schools’ Championships just 24 hours before the finals day, but she admitted that she probably ran out of puff by the time she got to the London Youth Games.

“I did well at the English Schools’ and I got a personal best but it’s been a very tiring weekend,” said Santos

“I think I found that in the final.

“It was really hot at Crystal Palace and there are some very good sprinters out there.

“Overall I’m happy with what I managed to achieve across the weekend.”

And while Santos didn’t get the result she wanted, she did get the chance to rub shoulders with former London Youth Games competitor and Olympic 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu.

And Ohuruogu revealed she was impressed with what she saw.

“I always love coming to the Games,” she said.

“I remember when I was kid I loved it, and I’m sure the kids have loved it as well.

“I think it’s giving these guys a platform to go out and perform and to have some competition and to learn all the disciplines of sport that I picked up and helped me get to where I needed to get to.”

Balfour Beatty is committed to helping raise the aspirations, motivation and attainment levels of young people in the communities in which it operates and has committed over �2 million to help develop the London Youth Games until 2013.