Haringey end London Youth Games on a high note with basketball gold and silver
- Credit: Archant
Haringey celebrated a famous basketball one-two at the London Youth Games as they came away with gold and silver from the girls’ and boys’ finals at Crystal Palace.
They came up against Newham in both finals at a packed indoor arena, with the girls triumphing 20-13 following a close-fought semi-final against Richmond.
And team manager Dan Bowmaker felt victory made up for the pain of their defeat in the last four a year earlier.
He said: “We had a really frustrating loss last year in the semi-finals so it’s really been about a year preparing to try and come back and win this trophy.
“All of these players were on the team last year, so it’s been on their mind to come back and try and go one better this year.
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“It’s a huge event in our calendar. Haringey have won it for many years, it’s kind of a legacy and a tradition for girls at our club, so to be part of a team is huge for them.”
Haringey’s boys narrowly missed out on gold after losing 33-30 in a tense final again against their Newham rivals, after beating Croydon in the semi-final.
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Former England international and London Youth Games alumni Roz Mason was a guest at the games and was impressed by Haringey’s performance and the quality of the tournament.
“It was very competitive out there, but it was lovely to see so many girls competing and allowing them to understand what basketball is about at this level,” said Mason.
“Both finals were a joy to watch. When you come to a venue like this and you’ve got basketball happening in here, swimming going on next door and archery and netball – it’s like a mini Olympics – it’s amazing.
“It reminds me of when I went to the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. It’s always a pleasure to come back and watch what’s going on. For me it’s really about taking part. Sport is a great platform for young people to go on and do lots of other things. It builds self-confidence and is really valuable.”
Haringey finished sixth out of the 33 boroughs in this year’s 40th anniversary Games, improving on last year’s ninth place, as they also won gold in the girls’ para football event.
Chief executive Jon Hughes added: “The finals weekend was an amazing climax to the 2017 London Youth Games year. It was great to see over 6,000 young people from every borough in London coming together to see just what they can achieve working together as part of a team.”