Hackney youngster wins gold medal at London Youth Games

Pele Julien

Pele Julien - Credit: Archant

Pele Julien offered a glimpse of what diving fans might expect ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in six years time after taking gold at the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games.

The 12-year-old from Hackney was one of the stars of the show after swooping to junior gold in the diving competition with a score of 213.30 to finish nearly 60 points ahead of his closest rival.

A member of the Crystal Palace Diving Club and a Stoke Newington School pupil, Julien improved on his 2013 result with his dominant performance and has already set his sights on Japan.

“I was second here last year so it was great to win,” he said. “I think I had it in me and I performed well on the day.

“I want to make it to the 2020 Olympics. In 2016 I’ll be too young but hopefully I can be the best in the world.

“I have a national age group competition soon and last year I was the champion for my age, but now I’m older I have to go back and retain my title.

“I’ve been diving for three and a half years and when I’m 14 hopefully I’ll be able to compete against the world’s senior divers.”

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The event attracted more than 15,000 competitors to Crystal Palace, which saw students representing their borough across 18 different sports.

And Julien was a big part of a Hackney team that finished sixth in the overall Jubilee Trophy standings – making huge strides on last year’s 12th place.

The borough struck gold in the girls’ table tennis and there were also silver medals in cycling – BMX and road – and indoor rowing and boys’ athletics.

Fourteen-year-old Nile McKenzie, who won the 800m gold for Hackney on the track, also has big plans for the future.

“It feels good to win gold at the London Youth Games because I wasn’t expecting to come first,” said McKenzie, who also attends Stoke Newington as well.

“At the upcoming English Schools’ Championships I want to try and get to the final and then from there everything else is a bonus.

“Obviously I would like to win but it will be a really tough field and I will have to run better than ever if that is to happen.

“This result was good and gives me some confidence but I still feel I need to improve a lot more to make the step up to the next level – I think I need to work on my strides and have a better morale.”

The London boroughs and Balfour Beatty invest in the London Youth Games to build stronger communities through competitive sport.

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