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Testimonials

A lot of these guys have quite challenging behaviour in lessons, but having the Panathlon Football Finals to look forward to helps them enormously. Being here is amazing for them and they absolutely love it. A lot of them find it difficult to maintain relationships with their peers, but it seems like when they’re out on the pitch they have a shared goal and you don’t see the same sort of outbursts.

Richard Brown, Teacher at Cricket Green

Panathlon is important to be because I don’t get out a lot, so meeting new people is a breath of fresh air. It gets me out of my comfort zone in a way and it helps me push boundaries that I never thought I could. Not just in sport, but socially as well. It just makes me feel happy really.

Rebecca Cavanagh, aged 15, Barking & Dagenham

We’re a mainstream school so these kids would normally get very little opportunity to play for their school teams, so Panathlon is great for their self-esteem and confidence.

Annie Sturgeon, teacher at Highworth Combined School, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

Panathlon is great for Scott and has made him more confident. Years ago I had to push him to get him involved. Now he loves to participate and he will make the first move

Heather Pope, mother of Scott, runner-up at the 2014 Jack Petchey Outstanding Achievement Award

Panathlon is brilliant for these kids, who just don’t get the opportunity to do this sort of thing outside of school. The sports are setup so well for children with a range of disabilities. It caters for everyone. It’s just brilliant.

Susie King, speech and language assistant at Stony Dean School, Amersham

I love competing against other schools as it’s great to meet new people. We’re over the moon and amazed to be going to the Olympic Park.

Danielle, Islington

It’s been an amazing day and it’s an honour to be here in the Olympic swimming stadium. It’s my first time here and it’s been one of my dreams to come here. Not every kid gets the chance to do this.

Alex Smyth, aged 14, Colchester

There aren’t usually many opportunities for these children, particularly those in wheelchairs, but Panathlon provides quite a big range of sports for them to do. It also helps develop life skills, their behaviour and social skills.

Robert Zawistak, teacher at West Lea School, Enfield

Lots of our children have never won anything in their lives. They have had a brilliant day being cheered on by other schools. We are over the moon to have won.

Maria Playle, William Bellamy’s Nurture Lead

I’ve really enjoyed Panathlon. It’s really helped me to be more confident and to get more involved in sport. A few years ago I couldn’t have imagined myself here.

Toyin Fabusiwa, aged 16, Croydon

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.

Kate Hoey, MP and Commissioner for Sport for the Mayor of London

Panathlon is something I look forward to every year. It’s given these kids so much encouragement. For a lot of the kids it’s the only competition they are doing.

Marianne Sharpe, teacher at Samuel Rhodes School, Islington

Today was fun; I loved everything I did today. It was a great also meeting Paralympian gold medalist, Liz Johnson.

Corey Black, Blackpool

In terms of offer for disabled children, Panathlon is the strongest example of how to run an event that is exciting, enjoyable and challenging but brings wide benefits as well as the activity. It’s a model that’s needed throughout the country, there’s no doubt.

Barry Horne, Chief Executive of the English Federation of Disability Sport

Panathlon is good for us because it caters for those kids who don’t have much opportunity. It means every child gets to take part in a competition outside of school. It’s a privilege to be here and the kids love it.

Kamil Hajdrych, PE coordinator at Stormont House School, Hackney

Panathlon makes it easier to set up targets and motivate my kids. During lessons, if you keep reminding them of Panathlon, we improve their behaviour and everything else improves from there.

Maria Papazoglou, PE coordinator at Whitefield Schools, Waltham Forest

We’ve got kids here today from all different year groups who don’t normally mix together, but here they are all one team and are working well together. The camaraderie in the team is great.

Kevin Hughes, Assistant Head of PE at Arbour Vale School, Slough

Panathlon is great because they can try different sports and everyone can take part without feeling under pressure.

Sophie Wood, aged 11, William Bellamy

Panathlon’s great. You can see children with all sorts of disabilities and abilities, so it’s very inclusive. Sport goes across so many different aspects of life that it’s just very important for them now and when they leave school.

Mark Boorman, teacher at Drumbeat School, Lewisham

Panathlon is great because it allows more children the chance to join in and compete. It’s an event that doesn’t focus on their disabilities, but on what they are able to do. It levels the playing field and the children are all enjoying themselves today. It’s fantastic.

Dawn Catley, education engagement officer at Active Essex

On behalf of our children at Girlington Primary School for a fantastic Panathlon experience. The activities were well thought through, taking into consideration a variety of disabilities. Our children thoroughly enjoyed themselves and memories were made. The whole event ran like clockwork which added to the enjoyment. We are already looking forward to next year.

Amanda Simpson, a teacher at Girlington Primary, Bradford

I am hoping to compete in the Tokyo Paralympics in 400m swimming and the Panathlon is a great competition.

Charlie Hyde, aged 13, Romford, Essex

Before I started Panathlon, I wouldn’t even go away from home on my own, but now I’ll do it easily. Panathlon has made me feel a lot more confident. I think it’s brilliant.

Georgina Hart, aged 15, Barking & Dagenham

Panathlon offers the most even playing field. It’s the one competition that caters for students of lower ability. It’s imperative that they get the opportunity to compete for their school and their borough. I love the ethos of the event and the competition.

Christie Moloney, Sports Development Officer at Ealing Council