TWO local players helped Team Lanarkshire retain its title in the boys’ football at the 46th International Children’s Games in Daegu, South Korea.
Playing in a seven-a-side format, the team netted a hat-trick of wins following success in Bahrain 2010 and Lanarkshire 2011.
Robbie Young from Motherwell and Dominic Docherty from Bellshill were part of the eight-man squad chosen from across Lanarkshire by their coach, former Kilmarnock player Stevie Hamilton.
The draw looked quite daunting with the youngsters facing Switzerland, Russia and Greece in the group stages.
However, the boys excelled and ran up an impressive 9-1 win over the Swiss followed by another emphatic 6-1 triumph over the Russians before winning a keenly contested 6-4 match against the Greeks.
After winning the group, the team was paired against the Irish in the semi-final and snatched a 3-2 victory to set up a re-match against the Russians in the final.
Despite the earlier high scoring win against the same opponents, the final proved a far tighter affair, with the match going to extra time before the Lanarkshire boys’ powered to a 4-1 win to grab the gold medals.
Coach Stevie Hamilton, said: “This is a wonderful achievement again from the boys against some really good sides from around the globe.
“The Games provide an outstanding opportunity for the young Team Lanarkshire athletes to compete on the international stage and to achieve their sporting ambitions.
“To have retained the gold medal status for three consecutive tournaments is impressive in any competition, and the boys and coaches deserve enormous credit.”
The full squad was: Robbie Young (Motherwell), Dominic Docherty (Bellshill), Jack Harrison (Lesmahagow), Joshua Kerr (Coatbridge), Stephen Barr (Blantyre), Matthew Ashelby (East Kilbride), Mark Hill (Hamilton) and Ronan Hughes (Coatbridge).