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.
A lot of kids don’t get the opportunity to represent their county even in a mainstream school, let alone a special school. For some of these kids, this could be the peak of where they get to in sport, so what a great event. They are overwhelmed and think it’s absolutely incredible. That’s what it’s all about.
“Panathlon gives my pupils with severe learning difficulties a sense of belonging. It’s such an amazing opportunity, it gives them an immense sense of achievement. They get huge attention and praise from their peers back at school for it and it inspires the younger ones to join in when they’re a bit older. When they compete at school in sport it’s more fun-based and against their own peers but when they go out of school to places like this they learn about what it means to be competitive. The kids really respond to that. It’s been a long trip but it’s been so worth it.”
This is the first time the school has competed externally, what an experience for them to come here with children from other parts of the region.
You just can’t buy this: the competition, the interaction, the fulfilment the children get from it and, of course, their smiles!
“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.”
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.
“Panathlon is having a massive effect on all the competing schools because the standard is getting higher, schools are putting more resources into training and kids are getting so motivated.”
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.
I am pleased with how today has gone. I felt I had done well and it was great to be cheered on by all the other teams as well as my own team-mates. It was a really nice atmosphere and a great day to be part of.
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.
I really enjoy it. Win or lose, it’s all about taking part. I feel very proud to be representing my school.
It’s really important that all kids, no matter what their ability level, have the opportunity to compete against other children of similar ability on a fair level. Every child has a right to take part in sporting activity and enter competitions.
This is one of the best experiences of my life. My favourite is the table top cricket because you get to really smash the ball. Panathlon has lifted my confidence and skills.
We’ve been to a few events in the past and she is usually the only student in a powerchair, so to come here today where she can compete against other students on a fair playing field is fantastic.
We’ve started local events to get as many children competing as possible. We then use those as a selection process for Panathlon, so we’re giving children a stepping stone to representing the borough. It gives them something to strive to and gives an end product to their competitions locally.
This is real ace, I can’t believe we won, today I love my life.
“The competitive element is really, really important for me, I’ve never been here before and at first I was quite daunted and felt nervous but when you’re in the water you just feel free.”
Panathlon is proving so popular that even able-bodied children are wanting to get involved now!
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
What a fantastic event. The atmosphere throughout was one of encouragement and support. All the young people swam incredibly well and loved competing in this type of environment.
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.
It feels amazing to be representing the borough. It’s an amazing experience to even be here. We’re so lucky to get this opportunity I think. I really enjoy being part of Panathlon and I think I’d like to be a young Panathlon coach in the future.
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.
“We had no air conditioning in our minibus and we stayed in a hostel last night and for some reason the heating was on full-blast – but it’s all been worth it! It means so much to them. They’ve worked really, really hard. It’s a great opportunity for them to show what they can do and they won’t get opportunities like this back at home. They are all in awe of this venue! It really boosts their self-esteem and once they build up their confidence here it gives them that boost to join their local pool or club. Just because they’ve got disabilities it doesn’t mean they can’t spread their wings and do other things. This will give the confidence to do so.”