Cycling ace Eloise ‘one to watch’
11-year-old scoops silver medal as Team Islington put in a strong showing at Youth Games
Friday, 20th August 2021 — By Steve Barnett
Eloise Ward on her way to winning a silver medal at Lee Valley VeloPark
TEAM Islington took their medal tally at the London Youth Games “summer special” to five, thanks to speedy cyclist Eloise Ward.
The 11-year-old whizzed around the Lee Valley VeloPark track in east London twice at rapid pace on Saturday, covering a distance of two miles in a little over five minutes, 44 seconds. Her efforts in the time trial earned Eloise second place, and with it a glistening silver medal.
Afterwards she revealed that she has been inspired by some of Britain’s greatest-ever cyclists.
“I now ride for Lee Valley Youth Cycling Club, but started off riding for Islington Cycling Club in Finsbury Park,” said Eloise.
Eloise with her silver medal
“Racing my bike is my favourite thing to do and I’m so happy that they managed to put the Youth Games on this year. I’d love to be a pro cyclist one day, like Laura Kenny and Mark Cavendish.”
Islington teammates Marin Pitcher, 10, and Arthur Eaves, 11, also rode well under the guidance of Islington CC coach Richard Liston. Competing in the same two-mile time trial, Marin clocked a time a little over 6 mins, 37 secs, while Arthur finished less than a second slower to take 22nd and 24th place respectively out of a field of 32 racers.
Overall the trio helped Islington finish 15th out of the 20 boroughs that took part.
“We’re all thrilled with Team Islington’s showing at the London Youth Games,” said Islington CC’s Katie Bonnar, who helped coach the team.
“Eloise’s silver medal was hard-fought and she performed brilliantly.
Marin Pitcher riding in the London Youth Games
“She moves up in age categories next year and will certainly be one to watch. We’ve built a solid foundation for future Youth Games in our younger riders and are proud of how hard they all worked.
“We want to thank Daniel Bank, Islington’s London Youth Games team manager, and the borough for all of their help and support. We look forward to planning for 2022.”
The London Youth Games usually finish in July with a sporting bonanza at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, where the grand winners of the Jubilee Trophy are unveiled. The prestigious trophy isn’t being awarded this year, but organisers behind Europe’s largest youth sport festival still felt it was vital to put on an exciting calendar of summer events to help young people in the capital recover from some of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Marin (right) with teammate Arthur Eaves and Islington Cycling Club coach Richard Liston
And Team Islington are certainly happy that, in some shape and form, the Youth Games have gone ahead after adding Eloise’s silver in the cycling to the medals that they have already picked up in the kayaking and the tennis. The borough now has five in total: one gold, two silvers and two bronzes.
The action is far from over with a series of multi-sport “Hub Weekends” taking place at the end of August and in September, featuring netball, hockey, football, cricket and beach volleyball.
Meanwhile, Team Islington are inviting young cricketers to take part in the borough’s secondary schools cricket trial next Tuesday (August 24). Aspiring athletes aged 11 to 18 are also being invited to sign up for the para athletics, which takes place on September 23.
For further details email Daniel Bank at Daniel.Bank@gll.org