Youth Games gives Kingston's Garner a thirst for success

Kingston Guardian: Taking aim: Archers take centre stage at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre last week Taking aim: Archers take centre stage at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre last week

Kingston archer Duncan Garner was left dreaming of starring under the bright Olympic lights after leaving the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games finals weekend clutching silverware, writes Nick Atkin.

The 14-year-old was in action at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre for Europe’s largest annual youth sports event as of one of 15,000 young athletes battling it out over 17 sports with all 33 London boroughs represented.

And, although Croydon ended up taking home the spoils by collecting the prestigious Jubilee Trophy, archer Garner did Kingston proud as he collected silver in the short Windsor competition.

Garner’s performance was not enough to push Kingston to a top-three finish in the archery, the borough ending up fifth, but it meant the Tiffin School pupil was left dreaming big.

“I’m very happy to come away with a silver medal because I haven’t really competed much this year,” he said. “I normally do quite well though.

“The London Youth Games is a really good event to come to. It’s one of my favourite competitions. It’s nice to be able to represent my borough – that’s what makes the competition great.

“I’ve just moved up an age group, so it’s going to be tough for me from here. The distances get a lot longer and the competitions get tougher.

“I want to become a really good archer, and hopefully I can represent my country at the Olympics one day.”

Despite just missing out on an overall archery medal, there was plenty for Kingston to shout about as they finished 18th in the overall standings.

It was on the volleyball courts where the borough excelled, both the boy’s and girls’ teams finishing with bronze medals, while the boy’s squash team also finished third.

There was better news for Kingston Wheelers cyclist Anthony Anderson as he proved age was nothing but a number as he collected gold in the senior cycling event.

The 13-year-old won last year’s junior cycling competition and his gold medal this time around helped Richmond finish top of the cycling pile for the second successive year.

And Anderson, pictured left, insisted he still had unfinished business.

“I am delighted to have won gold for Richmond, it was a really good achievement by everyone in the team,” said Anderson.

“I won here last year but that was as a junior so it was nice to come back and win it as a senior.

“But it wasn’t just winning the medal that was pleasing as I also got a pretty good time,so that makes it even better.

“I can come back next year so I will be looking to make it three golds to really complete the set.”

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

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