EALING team leader Ben Hagreen has tipped the class of 2011 to follow in the footsteps of two-time national badminton champion Aamir Ghaffar at this summer’s Balfour Beatty London Youth Games.

Hagreen, Ealing Council’s sports development officer, will once again lead the borough, one of 33, at the finals day in July as they bid to repeat a successful 2010 performance that saw them successfully defend their boys table tennis title.

Ghaffar, meanwhile, was crowned national singles champion in 2004 and 2005 but not so long ago he cut his teeth for Ealing at the London Youth Games.

And Hagreen believes that thanks to the impact the Games has had on community sport in Ealing, there will be more than a few following Ghaffar’s lead in the not too distant future.

“First and foremost, the London Youth Games are a great way for kids within the community to get involved in sport,” said Hagreen, who competed at Games for Ealing in the cross-country competition.

“It’s great in terms of the development of sports clubs in the borough and it gives the kids the added incentive of the chance to represent their borough when they’re competing.

“Traditionally we’ve been very strong in table tennis and swimming and we’ll be looking for some more results like that.

“Over the years we’ve had a few athletes go on to bigger and better things and more recently diver Georgina Ward and basketball player Leon Bennett-Harris have gained international honours.”

Last year Ealing finished 11th overall as the Jubilee Trophy went to Bromley, who edged out Croydon and 2009 winners Havering into second and third respectively.

Hagreen insists that the final placings pale into comparison with the surge in community sport brought about by the London Youth Games, but he is expecting Ealing to be battling it out for the medals in a number of sports.

“We made an excellent start to the early competitions and so we think things are looking good for the finals day,” added Hagreen.

“We came third and seventh in the two cricket competitions and we’d like to make progress in a few sports we’re not traditionally strong in such as angling – that would be just as pleasing.”

Balfour Beatty is committed to helping raise the aspirations, motivation and attainment levels of young people in the communities in which it operates and has committed over £2million to help develop the London Youth Games until 2013.