'We are Eid champions'
Hundreds of Muslim youngsters from across east London have competed in the Leyton Orient Eid Cup.
The sporting event draws young Muslims aged between 12 and 18 to test their ball skills against one another in a six-a-side football tournament.
Youngsters were split into two age groups, under 14s and under 18s. The Eid cup saw Waltham Forest Positive Futures squad win the under 18s competition, beating the Waltham Forest Fire Cadets 2-1 after extra time.
The under 14s tournament saw Tower Hamlets Positive Futures team beat Newham Positive Futures 3-1.
Alongside the winners trophies special awards were given out to players who showed particular skill and promise when on the pitch.
'Star Player' - Macid, 16, from Leyton.
Macid, 16, from Leyton, a 'Star Player' award winner said: "It was a wonderful feeling to win this award. All my team-mates congratulated me and when I got home my family were very proud and a bit surprised.
"...it's nice to see something like this happen in our area to keep the young people away from crime and meet people from other boroughs."
In addition to the tournament, youngsters were also given the chance to try their hand at laser clay pigeon shooting and local representatives from the Metropolitan Police Authority, Army and Fire Service held informal workshops with youngsters addressing issues around street safety, knife crime, careers and breaking down barriers.
'Star Player' - Marcus, 16, from Poplar.
Sergeant Steve Falconer from the British Army said: "We're here showing the local community that we are human, not the enemy and to see beyond the green...
"We [were] able to speak to the young people and, in the current climate of course, they were interested in talking about Iraq and Afghanistan.
"This was the first time a lot of the young people have spoken to anyone in the Army and from that point of view alone it has been a success."
Mark Benbow, Waltham Forest Borough Commander said: "[It was] a lot of fun seeing, young people enjoying themselves in a different environment and interacting with the police, fire service and army in circumstances they would never normally envisaged, and therefore breaking down barriers and learning to trust us....
"One of the things that is great about football is that it does unite all creeds and colours across the world – it's almost like a common language and by plugging into that we can get other messages out."
Sab Bham, Leyton Orient Community Sports Programme, Community Development Manager and Positive Futures London Regional Lead who organised the event said: "Our aim [was] to bring young people from across the UK together to participate in a football tournament with the wider message of promoting British young Muslims as responsible members of society...
"The competition was opened by Imam Adil, who addressed the importance of health and fitness for the body and mind, as well as emphasising that British law and order is not isolated from the Islamic faith.
"All of the awards at the closing ceremony were presented by all our key supporters and the closing remarks made by Imam Tayab Ali who talked about being proud to be Muslim and to be British really encapsulated the purpose of the day."
Run by the Leyton Orient Community Sports Programme in partnership with the Metropolitan Police Authority and the government's outreach programme Positive Futures, the aim of the day was to build and strengthen relationships between young British Muslim and the local community.
The organisers say they are now working on putting together a similar sports event for young Muslim girls next spring.
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last updated: 29/10/2008 at 16:35