Wandsworth's Danae eyes triple Youth Games crown

First published in Local Sports Round-up

Wandsworth volleyball player Danae Walters-Wright is eyeing up a rare hat-trick after leaving the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games finals weekend clutching gold.

The 17-year-old headed to the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre for Europe’s largest annual youth sports event with it all to lose having won the girls volleyball title last year.

But despite 15,000 young competitors fighting it out for all 33 London boroughs across 17 sports, Walters-Wright was in no mood to lose her title as she helped Wandsworth once again finish top of the pile.

Walters-Wright did it in style, captaining the side as they saw off Bexley in straight sets in their semi-final before doing the same to Croydon in the showpiece.

And, with the teenager eligible to come back and defend her title again next year, Walters-Wright is adamant her rivals haven’t seen the last of her just yet.

“I am delighted to have won the gold medal again, the London Youth Games is a big competition,” she said. “We won it last year so all eyes were on us this year and everybody wanted to beat us.

“So I think holding on to the title this time around means it is all the more special because we successfully defended it.

“I have one more year left in this competition so hopefully this is not the last time I am celebrating winning the title. I would love to make it a hat-trick and I will be doing all I can next year to make that happen.”

Despite Walters-Wright and Co’s volleyball success, Wands-worth were left wondering what could have been as they just missed out on taking home the overall Jubilee Trophy by a single point to Croydon.

However, there was still plenty to shout about for the borough as they also collected gold in girls’ hockey, indoor rowing and boys’ table tennis, as well as earning silver medals in the boys’ hockey and volleyball, while the archery team ended up with bronze.

And 13-year-old hockey player Sasha Hopkins joined Walters-Wright in eyeing up the treble next year after leaving with another gold this time around.

“This year’s gold medal was even better than last year’s because we defended our title, which is harder,” said Hopkins.

“Next year is my last year of the London Youth Games because after that I will be too old, so I will be doing all I can to end on a hat-trick of titles.”

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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