Croydon claim Youth Games crown

Inners and losers: Wandsworth girls beat Croydon girls in the volleyball final, but it was Croydon who won the overall London Youth Games title by one point

Inners and losers: Wandsworth girls beat Croydon girls in the volleyball final, but it was Croydon who won the overall London Youth Games title by one point

First published in Other Sport

Croydon squash player Callum Wand admitted he was hungry for more after helping his borough lift the Jubilee Trophy at the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games finals weekend.

The 15-year-old took to the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre looking to help Croydon – last declared overall winners in 1994 – finish as the best of the 33 London boroughs.

Wand played his part as he, and team-mates Jack Webster and Aidan O’Brien, finished with the boy’s title on the squash court as Croydon also finished top of the pile overall.

With Wand and co’s title one of two across the weekend – the other in the boy’s volleyball competition – Croydon collected the Jubilee Trophy with 1,153 points, just a single point ahead of second-place Wandsworth.

This was Wand’s debut in the competition and, after making the best possible first impression, he insists he is determined not to be a one-hit wonder, eyeing up a defence of his and Croydon’s title next year.

“Winning the gold in the squash was great and I thought it was a really good effort from myself and the rest of the team,” he said.

“Coming into the competition we thought we had a chance of winning and obviously we are all really pleased to make it happen.

“And to know that we played our part in Croydon winning the whole thing feels fantastic. It was really close and it came down to just one point so knowing that I helped us to win the Jubilee Trophy feels really good.

“This was my first year and I definitely have the taste for it now. I want to come back next year and not only defend my squash title but also help Croydon win it all again.”

Wand was joined on the top step of the podium by 13-year-old swimmer Rhys Singleton, who helped Croydon win the junior 4x200m freestyle relay, while also collecting 50m backstroke silver as the borough’s boys finished third overall in the pool.

Meanwhile, 18-year-old Joy Kalombo was delighted to help turn last year’s boys’ volleyball silver in to gold.

“I think we won it because we played with our hearts as well as our heads,” he said.

Balfour Beatty have agreed to support the London Youth Games through to at least 2015, meaning a total contribution of £2.5m since 2007.

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