Croydon crowned 2012 Panathlon Champions

Teams representing five London boroughs battled it out at Westway Sports Centre, London W10 6RP, on Thursday with 2011 champions Newham narrowly missing out on the title by two points. It was Croydon’s first victory since 2006.

Panathlon is a charity which provides multi-sport competition for over 2500 disabled children each year, predominantly across London and the south-east. An amazing 125 London schools from all 32 boroughs have been involved, with 12,500 active hours of sport provided to young disabled people.

GB Paralympians Helen Turner and Louise Sugden awarded the medals and Wendy Hartill, Croydon coach, said:

“It is fantastic we came first, and win the London championship for the first time since 2006. Our students performed incredibly well and are very proud of their success.”

Each team in the final progressed through two regional qualifying competitions, participating in a variety of specialised sports. These include boccia, football (SLD ambulant, powerchair and visually impaired) polybat, table cricket, new-age kurling, field and racing athletics.

 The final results were:

  •       1st Croydon (London South champions, incorporating pupils from St Giles, Priory, Bencham Manor and Woodcote Schools) 50 points
  •       2nd Newham (East: Eastlea, Langdon, Kingsford, Sarah Bonnell, Brampton,  Cumberland,  Windsor and St Bonaventures Schools) 48
  •       3rd Haringey (North: The Vale, William C Harvey and Moselle Schools) 42
  •       4th Harrow (West: Whitmore, Harrow College and Shaftsbury Schools) 42
  •       5th Camden Team Schools (Central: Swiss Cottage, Jack Taylor and South Camden Schools) 28

Panathlon founder Ashley Iceton said:

With excitement really starting to build for the London Paralympics, we are delighted to report that 2012 has been the biggest and best year for Panathlon in our 13-year history. Teachers, coaches, participants and Paralympians continually tell us we provide the most inclusive sports competition for young disabled people. We would like to thank our main funding partners for the huge part they play in bringing sport and activity into the lives of these children.”

Panathlon London’s principal sponsors include the Mayor of London, Jack Petchey Foundation, and St James’s Place Foundation.

As well as the annual programme of events which run from January to June, this year Panathlon Challenge participants have competed at the Olympic Stadium and Stoke Mandeville, the birthplace of the Paralympics. On April 1, they were among the first to compete on the new Olympic track in the Mayor’s Race at the Gold Challenge event.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said:

“It is fantastic to see the Panathlon Challenge going from strength to strength every year, helping to inspire young people to get involved in sport. Grassroots competitions such as this are crucial if we are to achieve our goal of building a lasting sporting legacy in the capital from the 2012 Games. My Sports Legacy Fund was established to support exactly this kind of event."

 Mike Wilson, Chairman of the St. James's Place Foundation, said:

"I am delighted that in our 21st year we are able to invest £265,000 to help improve the lives of so many young people and their families, through the work of Panathlon, especially at this time of economic challenge generally.”

Trudy Kilcullen, Chief Operations Officer for The Jack Petchey Foundation, which is investing £78,245 in Panathlon in London and Essex in 2012, said:

“We believe that all young people should have the opportunity to achieve their potential. Panathlon is the only organisation that enables young disabled people to participate fully in competitive sports designed to suit their needs. We fully support their work and look forward to seeing even more disabled young people becoming coaches and sports leaders in the future.”

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