Croydon’s Sophie Foreman helped the borough get off to a winning start as the new Balfour Beatty London Youth Games season swung into action with the cross-country on Saturday.
The first event of the new London Youth Games season saw a record 1,114 young Londoners compete at Parliament Hill, Hampstead Heath, all following in the footsteps of double Olympic champion Mo Farah who placed ninth in the U13 boys’ race at the 1994 Games.
Sophie, a Trinity School student, won the girls’ U17 race in fine style, covering the 3k course in 11 minutes, 32 seconds to win by a healthy 23 seconds from silver medallist Josie Savill of Richmond.
The 16-year-old was Croydon’s standout individual as the borough made a solid start to the defence of the Jubilee Trophy which they were awarded in July as overall London Youth Games winners for 2012.
Croydon finished sixth in the overall male cross-country competition and 10th in the female.
Following her triumph, Sophie said: "I am pleased I have won. Parliament Hill is such a tough course, but I am happy with my race.
"I hate the start as straight away it’s a hill, but I made up for it on the downhill sections.
“The Olympics has seen so many new people join our team so the atmosphere is still buzzing from this summer’s sport. Hopefully this means that we’ll be able to win again this year.
"Seeing all the athletes in the Olympics was inspiring as everyone did so well. Jessica Ennis is my hero as you can see how hard she has worked."
The London Youth Games is Europe’s largest annual youth sports event with 104,463 participants across 80 competitions and 30 sports in 2012.
There were 43 former London Youth Games competitors who took part in the London Olympic and Paralympic Games winning 14 medals, including Mo Farah, Bradley Wiggins and David Weir.
To get involved in the London Youth Games, contact Borough Team Organiser Pearl Sethna at firstname.lastname@example.org