I think it is a fantastic charity. The more people, of all abilities, that you can get involved in sport and health and fitness in a fun and engaging way can only be a good thing. And to have this event at the London Aquatics Centre is just another example of the legacy of London 2012
There was nothing like this available to me when I was a kid. I wish I’d had the opportunity that these children have got. What Panathlon are doing is brilliant and I’m really happy to be here and try to inspire these kids to keep doing it.
It’s fantastic what Panathlon does for disabled children. When I was first disabled and in a mainstream school, PE was really limited and the teachers didn’t really know what to do with me. If Panathlon had been available to me then, it would have helped me a lot for sure.
The atmosphere that Panathlon creates is awesome. These people here are playing to win and it’s nice to see that attitude amongst them. I think it’s important that everybody has the chance to compete and take part at whatever level they want to.
Panathlon is always fun, but it’s not just about playing games. It’s about competing for your school against another school. The kids feel proud about that and want to do well. They love it.
I’ve been coming to Panathlon events for years and what never ceases to amaze me is how much enjoyment the athletes get from the competition and how competitive they are. But what is truly amazing is how the event has now grown. With over 200 events a year now, Panathlon really has cemented itself in the sporting calendar.
The Mayor and I are delighted to be supporting the Panathlon Final, the culmination of a year-long programme of fantastic sporting activity. The Panathlon Foundation do incredible work that benefits thousands of young disabled Londoners and their appearance at the Copper Box Arena in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is a fitting finale to the year.
I am inspired by the work of Panathlon and it gives me great joy to see the happiness on the young people’s faces.
Panathlon provides an opportunity for disabled children to mix with others and experience competition; which is so important. Every person in the team matters and has a contribution to make to the final points score. Participation in sport sets you up for life, and every child should be encouraged to get involved.
It is fantastic to see Panathlon 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.
I am proud that partners such as Panathlon are delivering on our vision of the Olympic & Paralympic Games boosting sports participation.
The Panathlon Challenge is unique and I hope that many more young people have the opportunity to take part in the future.
The Panathlon Challenge is a great way of encouraging young people into sport. I hope many more young people have the opportunity to compete in the future.
If there’s anything that demonstrates an Olympic and Paralympic legacy, it’s this. Some of the legacy has got a bit lost along the way, but not here. That’s why I love it so much. No-one else is doing anything like this. There is no other organisation that puts on something this inclusive and this competitive. It’s completely unique and I think they deserve as much funding as possible.
Panathlon is proving so popular that even able-bodied children are wanting to get involved now!
Last year it was just Ryan who came along. Ryan doesn’t play in any school teams, but with the way Panathlon is structured, with fun, different activities, he really enjoyed it. When he got back to school with a medal, he was just hero worshipped. It was just brilliant for his self-esteem.
It’s brilliant. It’s a fantastic event and an ideal opportunity for our students. There are so many learning opportunities today: just to travel here, getting changed in a different environment, social skills, meeting different people, listening to instructions that they have to follow. They’ve done really well.
This is my last Panathlon for the school, it has been a brilliant experience, coming to Panathlon events has changed me as a person, I’ve met new people, been to new places, had life experiences out of school, thank you Panathlon.
At the end of a Panathlon event I feel like it’s a big achievement for me, because I can’t really do many sports. This is one I can do, and I love it!
It’s particularly inspiring to see how far Panathlon has come as an organisation and how many lives have been touched. There is no better illustration of the power of sport than a Panathlon event.
I am hoping to compete in the Tokyo Paralympics in 400m swimming and the Panathlon is a great competition.
For our kids Panathlon is the absolute highlight of the year. When we get back to school all of the kids will be there to greet them like returning heroes, like Olympians getting off the plane. It’s brilliant.
Panathlon builds up these students’ confidence. They can see that they can achieve well, they meet other people and they make friends, so it’s very good for their confidence and independence.
“I’ve loved it times a trillion! Before it starts you’re nervous and excited and you want to win, but when you’re here you forget all that and just enjoy it. Being a team, you feel like you’re part of something and you feel that no matter whether you win or lose, you have someone to back you up.”
“It means a lot because, these children wouldn’t normally partake in competitions and represent their school. It just gives them so much confidence. There are some kids here who I’ve never heard say a word at school, but they haven’t stopped talking since we got here!”
I don’t do any sport other than Panathlon. It is my world! I’m leaving school to go to college so this is my last competition and I’m really sad, but I have had a fantastic time over the last few years, especially the years that we won!
Never have we been to an event before that was aimed perfectly at the ability of our children.
I went back to my school and showed everyone my medal, and all the people in school were cheering. It made me feel impressive!
When I put on the Panathlon shirt for my team, it feels awesome.
The most important thing here is that the children get to participate in a competitive event which has rules that you have to play within, but offers the opportunity to be successful no matter how good you are at it.
Panathlon is pretty much the only competition these kids have. A lot of them don’t have the option for sports outside of school. Having this big tournament is really the only time they can access all of these sports in one place. It’s very rare and it’s very good.
It’s an honour to be here. It means everything to me to take part in an event like this. I told my whole family about this and they really hoped I’d perform well. I feel very proud [to be representing Newham] and I won’t let anybody down.
I’ve never really done this sort of thing before. It’s my first time in a swimming competition and it’s been pretty amazing.
“It means everything for them to be here, It gives them so much more confidence just to be part of a team. They see other children representing the school and our children are so excited to get that chance now too. They often see the other children go off in their football kits, so even the fact they’re wearing the same shirts here and representing the school is marvellous. They definitely wouldn’t get this anywhere else. They’ll be wearing their t-shirts and medals tomorrow in school all day long.”
“I’m going to go home and wave this medal in my brother’s face, because he’s never won a medal! I really like the water – it makes me feel happy. It’s amazing to be here because if you think about it, Tom Daley has been in this very same pool, so it’s extra special.”
We love Panathlon. There’s always something for everyone. That’s what’s fantastic about it. It’s a major part of our PE year.
Since we got involved in Panathlon, the kids all really want to do PE now. Their self confidence has just come on amazing. The more events we come to, the more the kids are getting used to it and the more they are enjoying it.
Panathlon is mega for our school. It’s very important that everyone gets the chance to play sport. It’s all about equal opportunities isn’t it? It’s great for the kids to show what they are able to do.