Giles Long MBE, triple Paralympic Gold Medallist has been welcomed as the new Chair of the Panathlon Foundation, the charity that operates the Panathlon Challenge.

The Panathlon Challenge is now in its twelfth successful year of delivering sporting opportunities and “mini-paralympic” type competitions for young disabled people. This year over 2,500 participants have benefitted from Panathlon coaching, equipment provision and competitions.

Giles said, “ Panathlon Challenge is a fantastic competition for young disabled people, and I’ve witnessed the enthusiasm and skills of the competitors first-hand. It is going to be a fantastic twelve months of inspiring sporting action with the Olympic and Paralympic Games coming to London. I look forward to helping Panathlon develop over the coming year. “

Outgoing Chair, John Hymers, who is retiring after fourteen years in the role, welcomed the new appointment saying, “ Giles will make a fantastic contribution to the Panathlon charity. He is someone who has been to three Paralympic Games and understands what it is like to start at the grass roots, and make it to the pinnacle of his sport. I wish him well.”

Giles has won 7 Paralympic swimming medals, 3 of them Gold and he will present coverage of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, broadcast on Channel 4 next August & September.

Panathlon has already been granted the Inspire Mark, the official badge of the London 2012 Inspire Programme for its ground breaking work in developing football opportunities for visually impaired young people and Powerchair users, with the Wheelchair Football Association.

Panathlon is aiming to raise £400,000 in the year ahead to fund its work, providing severely disabled young people with adapted sports equipment and 50 sports events around the country.