The South London area final of the 2011 Panathlon Challenge competition produced a close contest between the teams from Croydon, Bromley, Merton and Sutton, but the pedigree of the team from Croydon, London finalists in 2010, ensured that they go through to the big event again in June this year.
They didn’t have it all their own way, however, as a strong challenge from the Bromley team made sure they had to fight every inch of the way to secure that much coveted final spot, where they will compete against 4 other London teams to see who becomes overall Panathlon champions in 2011.
Sutton finished 3rd with a very creditable 44 points. Merton were fourth with 30 points and both these teams will now have to wait until next year before having another tilt at getting through to the final.
Teams from 30 London boroughs have participated since January to determine who goes ahead to the big London final in June and become London Panathlon Challenge Champions 2011.
On hand to award medals and inspire the competitors was Sam Hynd GB Paralympic Swimmer, who won gold in Beijing in the 400 freestyle and is the current world record holder in the 400 freestyle and current European champion. Also pictured here is Jane Evans, from the Jack Petchey Foundation who was on hand also to award medals and visit Panathlon.
The Mayor of London, through his Sports Legacy Fund, is supporting Panathlon with £86,000 in 2011 and the same amount next year. This means that in the three years in the lead up to the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, he will have invested £255,000 in developing grass roots disability sport in London, through Panathlon. Boris Johnson said, ‘ The Panathlon Challenge is a fantastic competition. It is about taking part, aspiration and achievement, three of the best motivators for young people.”
Trudy Kilcullen , Chief Operations Officer for The Jack Petchey Foundation, which is investing £50,000 in Panathlon in London and Essex in 2011, said. “ We believe that all young people should have the opportunity to achieve their potential. Panathlon is the only organisation that enables young disabled people to participate fully in competitive sports designed to suit their needs. We fully support their work and look forward to seeing even more disabled young people becoming coaches and sports leaders in the future.”