Team Islington paddlers dig deep to scoop Youth Games medals

Team spirit on show as youngsters receive special gong for respect

Friday, 6th August 2021 — By Steve Barnett

Thomas Diamond 28-kayak IMG_7105

Thomas Diamond won a silver for Islington in the kayak sprint

THE capital’s kayakers hit the water on Saturday as Europe’s largest youth sport festival continued in Redbridge.

And Team Islington certainly made waves at the London Youth Games as they won a medal of every colour.

Yassine Hanou struck gold in the kayak slalom, while teammate Ella Lamargue took bronze. And the success continued in the sprints where Thomas Diamond scooped a silver medal.

Overall, Islington just missed out on a team medal in the slalom as they finished fourth, while the borough gained a respectable 10th-place finish in the sprints.

Islington’s kayakers, who were presented with the Respect the Games award

But the squad, which also included Dexter Boorman and Alex Christopher, was still recognised for all the hard work they put in on the water as Islington were presented with the Respect the Games award, which they shared with hosts Redbridge.

Daniel Bank, Islington’s London Youth Games team manager, said: “We had a great performance.

“Once again their technical ability showed in the slalom.

“I was proud of the team for understanding the ethics of the London Youth Games and earning the joint Respect the Games award. I also want to thank the team at Islington Boat Club who train all the kids.

Islington’s Ella Lamargue, who took a bronze medal in the kayak slalom

“I hope their success has inspired others to give kayaking a go, it really is good fun, even if you aren’t competing at this high level.”

Neighbouring rivals Camden also enjoyed success on Saturday thanks to Sebastian Rees-Hill, who picked up a bronze medal in the slalom event.

But coach Beate Hohmann insisted that medals were secondary to the team spirit that was on display.

The “Young Pirate Paddlers” squad of Sebastian, Stephen Hyland, Benjamin Harty, Vesa Zeka, Katy Wun, Rafi Saba-Storey, Mia Hall, Katherine Hyland, Corey Karunadasa and Harrison Parsons, which included three reserves, “really supported each other throughout”, helping teammates in and out of the water, and even sharing sandwiches.

Yassine Hanou struck gold in the slalom for Team Islington

“The whole team did really well, they were amazing,” said Beate, who is the lead coach at Pirate Castle in Camden, where the squad trains.

“They provided such fantastic support for each other, and even the reserves who didn’t get the chance to race were amazing as they cheered their teammates on.

“It was such a close-knit team. They showed off the very best of Camden. We’re all very proud of the whole squad.”

Overall, Team Camden finished seventh in the sprint event and 11th in the slalom.

The action is set to continue later this month when both Team Islington and Team Camden enter teams into the road cycling event.

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