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Waltham Forest’s Darren Hall and Pete Waterfield have join Balfour Beatty London Youth Games Hall of Fame
11:00am Saturday 21st September 2013 in Football
Waltham Forest’s Darren Hall and Pete Waterfield have joined an illustrious band of sporting legends including Mo Farah, Bradley Wiggins and Rio Ferdinand by being inducted into the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games Hall of Fame.
The prestigious ceremony took place at BAFTA in London’s West End where Waterfield and Hall were among the latest inductees to the Hall of Fame which features some of the UK’s greatest sporting names who competed at the London Youth Games earlier in their careers.
Hall is widely regarded as Great Britain’s finest male singles badminton player ever.
He represented Waltham Forest at the London Youth Games before winning gold at the 1988 European Championships and 1990 Commonwealth Games and representing Team GB at two Olympic Games.
Now a taxi driver based in Chingford, he was delighted to accept the award from London Youth Games chairman Anthony Kendall.
He said: “It was a long time ago when I represented my borough. But it feels really special to be recognised after all these years and to go into the Hall of Fame with some really prestigious names.”
Looking back on his time competing at the London Youth Games in the 1980s, he said: “I never knew what to expect when I turned up at Crystal Palace and there were so many athletes and coaches coming in and I thought ‘this is a big deal’.
“The atmosphere inspired me and in my head I decided that was what I wanted to do – be involved in sport. It’s the first step on the ladder to going up towards the Commonwealths and Olympics.”
Recently-retired diver Waterfield also represented Waltham Forest at the London Youth Games before going on to win Commonwealth gold, World bronze and – most famously – Olympic silver in the synchronised event with partner Leon Taylor at Athens 2004.
He was unable to attend the evening due to a pre-arranged family holiday but he sent a video message which told the 250 strong audience: “The London Youth Games was a massive part of my career. It’s a multi-sport event, like a mini-Olympics and it gave me a feel for what it might be like.
“Without doing the London Youth Games, I probably wouldn’t have become as successful as I did. So, a huge thanks to the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games for enrolling me into their Hall of Fame. It means a lot.”
The event was hosted by three-time Olympic javelin medallist and 2009 Hall of Fame inductee Steve Backley. It was revealed on the night that the 2013 Balfour Beatty London Youth Games featured 114,598 participants, an all-time record for the 36-year-old event. The Balfour Beatty London Youth Games is Europe’s largest annual youth sports event, featuring teams from 33 London boroughs taking part in 85 competitions across 33 sports on 27 event days.
The first competition of the new season is the cross country, which will take place on Parliament Hill on Saturday, November 16.