Big Ben chimes in and upgrades to gold as Newham are on the up
Newham swimmer Ben Stuckey admitted his Balfour Beatty London Youth Games finals weekend performance was bittersweet despite leaving with gold around his neck.
The 17-year-old took to the pool at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre looking to upgrade his silver medal from last year’s event.
And that is exactly what Stuckey did, touching home in the senior 50metre breaststroke in 31.57 seconds to take home gold, nearly a second-and-a-half faster than his nearest rival.
However, despite storming to the win, he was left disappointed as he just missed out on a qualifying time for the ASA National Age Group and Youth Championships taking place at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge later this month.
But, after suffering with elbow problems for most if the season, Stuckey was just happy to be back on the top of the podium again.
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“I won a silver medal last year and I wanted to come back and do better so to win the gold is great,” he said.
“It’s also my final year at the London Youth Games too, so it’s especially great to improve on that and go out on a great note. It’s nice to get a reward for the hard work.
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“Unfortunately, I just missed out on the qualifying times for the National Youth Championships in Sheffield later this month.
“Now I’m just aiming to make it there next year. There will be a lot of training and hard work if I’m going to do it. Hopefully I won’t get any injuries this year.
“I had a few problems with my elbows last year – they were painfully stiff and stopped me from training.
“It was very frustrating having worked hard all year and for that to stop me when it really mattered.”
It was Croydon who walked away with the prestigious Jubilee Trophy this year, Newham finishing seven places up from 2011 as they ended 21st in the overall standings.
Newham proved to be a force to be reckoned with in the pool as Stuckey went on to help the borough claim 4x50m medley relay bronze, alongside Jasper Apau, Joe Foster and Edvin Krukovski.
“I’m pretty happy with how I performed, especially because it’s my first medal at the London Youth Games. I couldn’t believe it at first,” said 17-year-old Apau.
“The other medals I’ve won seem a bit cheap compared to this one. This is the most fun event I’ve been to.
“I would like to become a professional. To represent my country at the Olympics would be fantastic, but I know I’ve a long way to go.”
Balfour Beatty have agreed to support the London Youth Games through to at least 2015, meaning �1.1m worth of funding post-2012 and a total contribution of �2.5m since 2007.