Success for Lancaster at International Youth Games
Lancaster dominated the medal table at the four-day International Youth Games.
The Lancaster district team won 87 gold medals, 67 silvers and 55 bronzes at the event held from July 21-24.
Young people aged 12 to 16 competed against squads from Almere in the Netherlands, Aalborg in Denmark and Rendsburg in Germany in sports including athletics, tennis, cycling, rowing, tennis, triathlon and badminton.
Almere won 46 golds, 33 silvers and 34 bronzes, Aalborg won 31 golds, 14 silvers and 12 bronzes and Rendsburg won 21 golds, 16 silvers and 22 bronzes.
Organisers who ran the Games without council funding for the first time hailed the event as a great success.
Lancaster’s running of the Youth Games was under threat due to Lancaster City Council cuts but local sport leaders got together to make sure the 2017 event still took place.
Around 100 kids took part at locations including Lancaster University, Salt Ayre Leisure Club and the River Lune.
Local clubs represented were Lancaster and Morecambe Athletics Club, Ripley Badminton Club, Hest Bank Badminton Club, Kirkby Lonsdale Badminton Club, St Martin’s Junior Karate Club, Kentai Karate Club, Satori Do Shotokan Karate Club, John O’Gaunt Rowing Club, Carnforth Otters, Lancaster City Swimming and Water Polo Club, Hest Bank Tennis Club and Cogset Cycling Club.
The annual event, which has been running since 1975, is held in a different country each year.
It was funded this year by the Duchy of Lancaster to the tune of £10,000 and also sponsored by Sport Lancaster and Lancaster University.
The university provided their facilities free of charge which organisers said saved them £10-12,000 and ensured the event could take place.
Mike Tyrrell, local badminton coach and chairman of the Lancaster International Youth Games Committee, said: “We are going to do it again.
“The council won’t fund it although we are hoping they will come back with some money.
“With Brexit coming up it’s important that we keep the links with all our European neighbours.
“The Games are also something for children to look forward to. They make friends for life and learn about different cultures.
“We’ve got to keep this going, however we do it.”
Aalborg and Rendsburg are two of Lancaster’s ‘twin towns’ while Almere is an associate town.
Lancaster’s other twin towns Lublin in Poland, Perpignan in France and Vaxjo in Sweden did not take part.
Mr Tyrrell said they decided to keep it to three visiting teams to keep costs down.
He and Chris Haggan, Games secretary, thanked Roger Mace, mayor of Lancaster, and lady mayoress Joyce Mace, for attending the event and said the mayor’s support had been “superb”.
Video footage by Stuart Bannerman of Up North Productions.