2010 London Youth Games a record

Mayor London, Boris Johnston, lights the flame at the London Youth Games in front of children

Two years to go and the Olympic spirit is already alive in London

Mayor of London lights flame at 2010 Youth Games

The Olympic spirit has burst into life in the capital as a record number of young Londoners competed in the 2010 Balfour Beatty London Youth Games.

Sport England has invested £1m in the Games and for the first time ever, over 50,000 youngsters took part making 2010 the biggest in the competition’s 33-year history.

The Games, which are Europe’s largest annual youth sports event, saw 33 London borough teams competing across 30 sports on 25 competition days.

“For many young people, sport is about having fun and enjoying the experience of taking part,” said Hannah Bladen, Sport England’s Regional Lead for London. “But for some, the chance to compete at a higher level gives an even greater buzz – and is where sporting careers are kick started.

“The London Youth Games is a fantastic force for increasing participation in competitive sport and a showcase for the young sporting talent the capital has to offer.”

The figures show a surge of interest in competitive sport among young people in the capital. In 2008, 27,830 young people took part in the London Youth Games either as competitors or by taking part in borough trials and squad training. In 2009, that figure rose to 47,740.

“We’re delighted that we have burst through the 50,000 mark for the first time ever,” said Russell Findlay, London Youth Games’ Chief Executive. “It is really important that we grasp the opportunity that the next two years presents. Competitive sport is never likely to be more prominent in the minds of young people than it is in the run up to London 2012.

“Thanks to the support of our chief funding partners Balfour Beatty and Sport England, we have been able to deliver a high-quality event that motivates young people to become involved in sport, inspires them to continue in sport and engenders the type of competitive environment that helps to develop champions.”

For more information, visit the London Youth Games website

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