Persistence pays off - and that’s exactly what Karim Al-Shubasi found out as the Hounslow rower went the extra mile to clinch bronze at the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games.

The 16-year-old was one of Hounslow’s success stories at finals weekend at Crystal Palace, using every ounce of effort to secure a spot on the Year 11 indoor rowing podium.

Al-Shubasi’s medal was made all the more sweet with the memories of finishing an agonising fourth last year fresh in his mind – and he admitted tiredness was a small sacrifice for success.

“As soon as I came off I felt so tired, like I had something stuck down my throat, but it was worth it in the end,” said Al-Shubasi, who recently finished his GCSEs at Isleworth and Syon School.

“I wanted a medal after last year because I came fourth and this it was my last time competing. I wanted to push it harder than I’ve ever done; maybe I did a little too much.

“I’ve been rowing for a year and a half after my school introduced me to Chiswick Rowing Club and I enjoyed it straight away.

“It’s something I think I’ll always do – I do a lot of sports but rowing has become my best one. The London Youth Games is a great competition; a lot of people won’t ever get this kind of opportunity.”

 

Hounslow finished 23rd in the overall Jubilee Trophy standings – won by Wandsworth – and made strides in a variety of sports across the entire Games.

There were silver medals in angling and weightlifting – which improved drastically from last year’s 17th place – and top-five finishes in volleyball, tag rugby and basketball.

But the indoor rowing medals did not start and stop with Al-Shubasi as Antonia Thomson, who took up the sport last year, also hauled in a Year 11 bronze for Hounslow.

“It feels really good to win a medal in my first time doing indoor rowing,” said the 16-year-old, who studies at The Green School.

“I was confident that I’d do well because I row a lot but I wasn’t too sure what would happen so it’s fantastic.

“I only started rowing last year and it’s something hopefully I’ll carry on with throughout my life.  It’s great because coming to these sort of events are exciting and I’ve been doing well.

“I went to the National England Rowing Championships and finished 17th out of 99 competitors, so I’ve picked it up fast.”

The London boroughs and Balfour Beatty invest in the London Youth Games to build stronger communities through competitive sport.