Dalton Grant joins Hall of Fame and vows to inspire next generation

Legendary British athlete given London Youth Games top honour

Former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Dalton Grant was inducted into the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games Hall of Fame at a ceremony at Lord’s Cricket Ground recently – but raised his concerns about the number of elite athletes currently coming to the fore.

Grant competed for Hackney in 1982, where he jumped 2.00metres to win the high jump in the same Games that saw the emergence of sprinter Linford Christie.

The 45-year-old went on to compete for Great Britain in the 1988 Olympics and also won European Indoor Gold and now wants to use his wealth of experience to inspire youngsters to follow in his footsteps.

Grant said: “I’ve stepped down as president of South of England Athletics and become a member of the Olympic Committee. It’s an exciting time in this country with the Olympics coming to London and it’s important to be pro-active and the Committee are helping to try and build a legacy from the Games.

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“I’m going into Aldersbrook School in Wanstead to talk about my experience of going to the Olympics.

“Schools can ask more Olympians to help in that way and to be a positive influence on the kids. It’s nice to give something back.

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“In the 80s we had lots of athletes coming through, but that doesn’t seem to be happening anymore and we need to develop training programmes to make sure we have more and more great athletes coming through.

“At the World Championships we got seven medals, but a real measure of how successful a team is, is the number of season’s bests and personal bests you set at major championships and there weren’t too many in Daegu.

“We need to pick out the top athletes for others to feed off.”

Grant, who now lives in Ilford, hit TV screens recently, with appearances on Celebrity Come Dine With Me and Celebrity Total Wipeout, which he won in a record 54 seconds and received a cheque for �10,000, which he donated to Cancer Research.

The former Hackney Downs School pupil was inducted into the London Youth Games Hall of Fame alongside three-times Olympic ski racer Chemmy Alcott, Paralympic swimming gold medallist Elaine Barrett, World triathlon gold medallist Tim Don, Commonwealth Games squash gold medallist Paul Johnson and England ladies footballer Rachel Yankey.

After receiving his award at the ceremony hosted by former inductee and Olympic silver medallist Steve Backley, Grant said: “It’s a great achievement for all the years I’ve put into sport and it’s nice to be appreciated.

“It’s my first award actually, after being the captain of the British team and being a board director and being a world-class athlete for 15 years.

“I knew it was a hard achievement to win the London Youth Games and it helped me to prepare properly and go back and work on my weaknesses and come back, compete, achieve and learn from what I did to correct my problems and win the London Youth Games at the mere age of 16.

“It was a stepping-stone for me going on to major championships, to know what it takes and know what I have to put myself through to achieve my dreams.

“I represented and competed for the borough of Hackney. It means a lot.

“I went to Hackney Downs School and it’s nice to do something positive and to inspire people. I’m honoured to be in the Hall of Fame and to have represented my country on an international level.”

London Youth Games chairman, Anthony Kendall, added: “Athletes like Dalton are a magnificent example to young Londoners and demonstrate what can be achieved through the London Youth Games and beyond.”

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