The Panathlon deaf programme bandwagon rolled into Birmingham and Liverpool – and left schools and teachers wanting more events to be organised in the future.
Over 130 deaf and hearing-impaired children were involved, with 78 in boccia action at the Nechells Community Sports Centre in Birmingham and 54 competing in boccia and basketball events at Greenbank Sports Academy in South Liverpool.
At Greenbank, Bolton school Sharples A won the basketball tournament, defeating their B team 8-4 in the final, and the secondary boccia event, while Middlewich B, from Cheshire, claimed the primary boccia title by beating Westfield (Runcorn) 8-2 in the final.
England deaf cricketer James Dixon commented: “Another great Panathlon deaf event here on Merseyside for the North-West. What a success! Schools are hooked. I can’t wait till the next one. It is great have the children playing sports they wouldn’t normally get to do. Thanks to all for participating.”
Elizabeth Brocklehurst, of Greenbank Academy, added: “It’s great to have the opportunity to work in partnership with Panathlon to offer such a fantastic sporting event for deaf children. There’s been a lovely atmosphere throughout the day and all of the children have had a wonderful time.”
The sentiments were similar from the competing schools at Nechells after an action-packed day involving 22 teams.
Longwill’s B team, from Birmingham, won the primary boccia competition and a B team from Birmingham also finished first in the secondary event, with Bordesley Green triumphing.
It was the first time that many of the children had competed. Mixing the primary and secondary schools worked well, as the children in Year 6 feed into the secondary schools and the secondary students were pleased to see their old primary school teachers again.
Mandy James, of Small Heath, said: “It was a great social experience and interaction. Children swapped sides in the hall at lunchtime to sit with other schools, which is an important part of learning for the kids.”
Penny Wakefield, teacher in charge HIU, Stoke Park, added: “We had a really great time. It was beyond our expectations. It was good for our pupils to meet up with other deaf youngsters and interact, as well as enjoy, playing the game, which we don’t normally get a chance to play.”
The day was so much fun that teachers are eager for Panathlon to organise similar events in the area in future.
Joy Pollard, of Hawthorn, said: “We have a very small unit at school, so for the children to mix and meet others with hearing impairments was the first opportunity that they have had. They had a wonderful day – we would like more. I know other schools that would like to be involved.”
Simon Wilding, of Calthorpe, added: “What an impressive day! Thank you to Panathlon for organising this event. Can we have some more sports? This group of children are crying out for more.”
Mary Johnson, of Boccia England, was so impressed that she has asked some of the leaders from Stockland Green School to help her at the West Midlands Regional Lord’s Taverners event next month.
Basketball: 1 Sharples A, 2 Sharples B, 3 Hameldon.
Secondary boccia: Sharples.
Primary boccia: 1 Middlewich B, 2 Westfield, 3 Middlewich A, 4 Knotty Ash A, 5 Knotty Ash C, 6 Knotty Ash B.
Primary boccia: 1 Longwill B, 2 Longwill C, 3 Hawthorn B, 4 Longwill D, 5 Howes A, 6 Percy Shurmer C, 7 Hawthorn A, 8 = Longwill A and Percy Shurmer A, 10 Percy Shurmer B.
Secondary boccia: 1 Bordesley Green B, 2 Braidwood A, 3 Calthorpe A, 4 Braidwood B. Also competed: Small Heath A and B, Stoke Park, Bordesley Green A, Calthorpe B and C, and Braidwood C and D.