Panathlon were in West London for the second first-round competition, this time hosted by Featherstone High School. The teams, comprising of 12 schools, were from Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham and Hounslow.

Today was a day of Panathlon firsts, most notably Hammersmith & Fulham’s inspired performance and equally, the impressive officiating being done by local Sports Leaders – from Featherstone High School and Villiers High School, who were qualified in December as “Panathlon Young Officials.”

From the outset the competition was close, ends frequently being won by one point, cricket games coming down to the last over, athletics performances being separated by only small fractions. Hounslow, who had the smallest team, punched well above their weight. They took the Polybat competition convincingly and on another day and with a better football result, they would have given Ealing a closer battle for second place. Ealing starred in athletics, they won the field athletics and came second in the athletics races only on count back, their manual wheelchair race was one of the fastest I’ve seen.

However, today was Hammersmith & Fulham’s day. They amassed 66 out of the possible 70 points available – they won the Boccia, Table Cricket, New Age Kurling and the Athletics Races following on from their previous victory in the Football.

This is the first time that Hammersmith & Fulham will progress to the West Final and with Hillingdon having done the same earlier in the week, it seems that 2012 is the year of the underdogs coming good. I am looking forward to seeing how they’ll fair come March.

Katy, one-to-one support worker for Jamie, Powerchair Athlete from H&F said, “This is a wonderful day – the level of organisation is superb, the Panathlon Leaders are brilliant, and an enormous amount of imagination has gone toward making this a fantastic and energetic day out!”

We were lucky to have Josh Beacham from the Paralympic football team handing out the medals, Josh commented, ” I want to say how much I enjoyed today, and how much I am impressed with all who took part in the Panathlon.”

Many thanks to particularly thank to Stuart Weston, from Featherstone High School, for looking after us so well, and to the team managers – Christie Moloney, Kevin Coakley and Peter Shears.