Arsenal Ladies footballer Rachel Yankey has been recognised for her career as a world-class athlete as she was officially inducted into the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games Hall of Fame.

The glittering annual ceremony sees former London Youth Games competitors being inducted into the Hall of Fame alongside awards for the individuals and organisations who have helped make the 2011 Games the most successful in its 34 year history, with a record 71,000 participants.

Yankey competed for her home borough of Brent in her formative years before going on to win over 100 England caps and 26 major trophies in club football. She is also the official patron of the 2011 London Youth Games.

Three-times Olympic javelin medallist and 2009 inductee Steve Backley hosted the evening which saw Yankey honoured alongside five other stars of London sport.

Three-times Olympic ski racer Chemmy Alcott, Paralympic swimming gold medallist Elaine Barrett, World triathlon gold medallist Tim Don, former World no 4 squash player Paul Johnson and Commonwealth high jump gold medallist Dalton Grant also officially joined the Hall of Fame.

They all joined an exclusive club of world-class sporting talent in the London Youth Games Hall of Fame including Backley, Manchester United and England footballer Rio Ferdinand, World 5000m champion Mo Farah and Olympic cycling gold medallist Bradley Wiggins.

After receiving her award, Yankey said: “It’s an honour. It’s something I never even thought of or guessed that would happen. It was a privilege for me especially when you open the programme and you see your name up there with the greats. It’s fantastic.

“The London Youth Games was massive for me. It was the first chance for me to be involved in a team. It was like the mini Olympics. It was nice to contribute something to the borough and it’s a proud moment to say I’ve played for my borough.

“You think I’ve represented the place where I live and my friends. I know some of my friends at school would have loved to have done it but didn’t get picked so it’s a privilege and something I’ll always remember and look back at.”

London Youth Games Chairman Anthony Kendall said: “Congratulations to Rachel Yankey on her induction into the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games Hall of Fame.

"Athletes like Rachel are a magnificent example to young Londoners and demonstrate what can be achieved through the London Youth Games and beyond."

The Balfour Beatty London Youth Games is Europe’s largest annual youth sports event, with 71,000 participants from 33 London boroughs competing in 60 sports.

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27 Sep 2011