Brent table tennis player Mya Sultan was left momentarily speechless after she claimed a silver medal on her first appearance at the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games.
Sultan was one of more than 15,000 athletes to descend on Crystal Palace for Europe’s largest annual youth sports event where all 33 London boroughs battled it out for the prestigious Jubilee Trophy.
Brent were in fine form in table tennis with the boys team also claiming silver to add to the one collected by Sultan and her girls teammates Sarah Menghistab and Amiel Fabrigas.
Sultan, 13, only started table tennis a year-and-a-half ago and she admitted to just be competing at the London Youth Games was an achievement, let alone winning a medal.
The Capital City Academy pupil counts the British husband and wife duo of Paul and Joanna Drinkhall as her sporting heroes and hopes she will one day be able to follow in their footsteps at international level.
“To get a silver medal on my first appearance at the London Youth Games was amazing but I want the gold one so this will drive me through so I’m better next year,” she said.
“It’s an experience that I will remember for a long time. It was hard work but it’s a good feeling to be competing at the London Youth Games and to know that I’m good enough to be competing.
“It feels great to be representing my borough at the Games. To be one of only three girls representing Brent in table tennis is an honour and I hope I have done them proud.
“The ultimate dream for me is to play for England around the world. This feels like the perfect point in time to really push on and work differently because watching other people who play nationally will help me develop into the player I want to become.
“These Games have given me the chance to see where I am in comparison to other table tennis players in London and it’s an experience that will really help my development.”
Brent improved fives places on last year’s 30th-place finish by ranking 25th in the overall Jubilee Trophy standings – won by Wandsworth with a record points haul of 1193.
There were also some strong performances on the athletics track, notably 14-year-old Brittney-Anne Wiggan who finished fourth in the girls 100m final.
Like Sultan, Wiggan was competing in her first London Youth Games and she admitted she’d struggled to overcome a bout of nerves.
“I thought I would do quite well but I started thinking about it over and over again so got a bit nervous,” said Wiggan.
“I tried to contemplate where I would finish but then just decided to hope for the best. If possible I would love to come back next year and maybe win a medal.
“I might be doing the English Schools’ soon but I feel very nervous about competing there as it’s on TV.
“I want to become an athlete when I’m older though and run for Great Britain – watching the 2012 Olympics was a real inspiration for me.”
The London boroughs and Balfour Beatty invest in the London Youth Games to build stronger communities through competitive sport.