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.
One of our girls used to hate PE. We took a punt and brought her to the first Panathlon competition and the change in her was huge. Now she continuously shows enthusiasm in PE. The change in her confidence and focus has blown me away.
We absolutely love Panathlon. It’s brilliant for us as a mainstream school, because our more able-bodied students get involved with our disabled students and they play games together, so there’s a really nice crossover.
We’ve never represented the county in anything before, so that’s great. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our students.
Today was my first ever football match and it’s been a wonderful opportunity. There were a few strong tackles this morning but I can cope with it – I’m tough! I’m going to put my medal on my bedroom wall when I get home.
Kieran Rutter, Great Arley School 13, “I feel proud to be here in this venue. It shows if you work really hard you can earn experiences and medals like this. Put your head down, don’t worry about anyone else, and just head for the gold!”
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.
The structure was brilliant. The format was for the kids. Usually we are tagged on to some event. Thus we don’t compete that often. This was the opposite. It was for the children and the children responded brilliantly having an event for them.
Our team won the gold medal. It feels very nice, like we’ve won the Olympics.
Lillie had no confidence in the water, but today she amazed us, the activities made it so inclusive and the all the children surprised us what they could do, today gave children at Norfolk Primary a chance to shine.
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.
This is the only chance I have to play team sport at school and outside of school, so it is really important to me and my other teammates that we can do this through Panathlon.
They’re a great little team. The day after a Panathlon you see them walking round the school with the medals around their necks looking so proud. They’re absolutely buzzing.
Panathlon is the best competition we enter because it’s so inclusive. I can bring children to this that I wouldn’t even consider taking to anything else, because everyone can compete here. It’s really important that all kids get the chance to take part in sport.
It gave them an opportunity to excel in a world that they otherwise find difficult. Giving them confidence and pleasure. I thought it was brilliant that parents were allowed to come and watch. It gave the children a real sense of pride – especially when they won. It also gave an opportunity for the children and parents to really share something at home, hopefully supporting great and positive communication.
Panathlon is brilliant. I’ve been coming here since the age of nine and enjoy it every year. I take part in the wheelchair slalom and the relay races. I love racing against others.
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.
I went back to my school and showed everyone my medal, and all the people in school were cheering. It made me feel impressive!
Sport is really important because it allows people to express themselves. Disability shouldn’t hold you back. If you want to play sport you should be able to do it to the best of your ability and not be held back in any way.
For schools to come together like this is great, you don’t get that luxury very often. Social skills are some of the most important things we try and teach them at our school so to see them interact, celebrate when they win and shake hands at the end is spot on
“This is an experience that they don’t usually get at all. It’s great for them to be somewhere where they know Olympic and Paralympic athletes have competed and it gives them a huge sense of achievement.”
It’s the best event we’ve been to so far. It’s a brilliant atmosphere and a really good competition. If you’d seen where these kids have come from, it’s incredible, especially one of our boys, Alley. This time last year he was terrified of water and now he’s competed here. I’m really proud of him. The children are so proud of themselves, when they go back to school, there is such a big fuss made of them and their confidence is boosted so much by it.
Our strong team culture has impacted into school – behaviour has improved, relationships developed, a sense of achieving can be found in all areas of the school.
We’ve got lots of smiling children. It’s fantastic because it links with a lot of the class curriculum at the moment which is around the Olympics. It gives them a great sense of wider achievement. It’s been a really positive experience for them.
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.