The National final of the 2006 Panathlon Challenge produced new and worthy champions in St. Bede’s RC. School, Bristol. It is the fourth time the school has reached the national final, but the first time they have won it, so congratulations to the pupils of St. Bede’s.

In a day packed with drama they overcame their nearest rivals, Plymstock School, Plymouth, by a hairs breadth. Both teams finished equal on 88 points, Bristol winning on the count back, Panathlon’s equivalent of the penalty shoot out in football.

The drama began before the competition got underway. Hackney Free Sports College from London, the current champions, were sadly unable to attend because their coach firm let them down. The pupils were at the school at 5 am., ready to make the journey to Liverpool, but because of the non attendance of the coaches they were unable to make it. This left the 4 other regional winners to battle it out for the big prize. The other schools were Corpus Christi High School School, Leeds and a combined team from De La Salle and St. John Bosco schools in Liverpool.

After a full day of superb sports competition covering 11 different sports, it came literally down to the last race to decide the 2006 champs. After the race, St. Bede’s and Plymstock were still neck and neck so the count back came into operation.

Vince Curnock, Head of PE. in St. Bede’s says “We are delighted to win the national competition in 2006. Credit to Plymstock and the other schools for making the competition so tough. We are very pleased also to have been awarded the Fair Play trophy. This is an important part of the event and of our own approach to sport”

Ashley Iceton, the event organiser says “This is definitely the closest finish we have ever had to a national final. It shows the competition is getting tougher, but well done to all the schools for making it so, and for competing in such a spirit of sportsmanship and fair play.”

The organisers are grateful to Liverpool City Council, who kindly funded the event, and to John Moores University, who graciously lent their sports facilities at I. M. Marsh College, and some very enthusiastic students to help run it.