CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Virtual Games stars strike gold!

Delight for Team Camden athletes who took part in a month of lockdown events

10 July, 2020 — By Steve Barnett

Torriano primary school pupils who helped Team Camden clinch Games gold

THE results are in, and Team Camden are the first ever virtual victors of the capital.

The borough’s boys and girls showcased their skills in a series of online challenges to strike gold in the Virtual Games.

After four weeks of taking part in sport-related tasks at home, at school or while out for their daily exercise, young athletes representing Camden toppled Bromley at the final hurdle to win the competition by just two points.

“It’s just fantastic news,” beamed team manager Ben Dorsett, of Camden Council’s Sport and Physical Activity Service. “Everyone who took part has really made the borough proud.

“Normally our young athletes would have been taking part in the London Youth Games, ParaGames and the School Games. And at the weekend they should have been battling it out for medals in the grand finals at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.

“To be able to shake off the disappointment of not being able to do that this summer, and show such focus and commitment in taking part in a virtual format of the competition is unbelievable. They all deserve tremendous credit.”

There were question marks about how youngsters were going to get their sports fix when the London Youth Games was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

But organisers behind Europe’s largest annual sports celebration acted quickly, unveiling plans for the Virtual Games.

Pupils from the Village Prep School take on the water polo challenge during the Virtual Games

Events were released on social media each week covering a wide range of different disciplines, including athletics, judo, football and even water polo.

Team Camden more than rose to the challenge. And in the final round, when the pressure was really on, they simply upped their game yet again, adding three more gold medals and a bronze to their overall tally.

The bronze medal came in the one-mile relay challenge, where athletes had to run a mile before virtually passing the baton on to as many teammates from their borough as possible.

From then on in, it was top spot all the way.

Team Camden won gold in the cricket, where batters had five attempts to hit various targets. As with all competitions, entrants were encouraged “to be creative”, and if they didn’t have a cricket bat, a ball or a batting tee, use a frying pan, a pair of rolled-up socks and a loo roll.

Team Camden also won the boccia, where participants had 60 seconds to try to hit as many targets as possible by throwing or rolling different balls or objects at various markers.

Finally, they struck gold in the water polo, where the task was to see how many times they could bounce a ball off a wall using alternate hands in 60 seconds without dropping it.

Overall, Team Camden won no fewer than 11 medals from 13 activities – including five golds, a silver and five bronze medals on their way to being crowned the champions.

Athletes from Islington also got involved in the action, but with smaller numbers taking part in the challenges they were always going to be up against it.

In the end, despite putting in a series of spirited performances, they finished bottom out of the 33 London boroughs that took part in the competition.

With talks now underway to see how the London Youth Games, ParaGames and the School Games will look going forward with new social distancing measures, Team Islington will be confident of posting more competitive scores as and when the competition returns to a somewhat more familiar format.

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