Team Harrow have retained their London Panathlon title after a dominating performance at the London Final at the Copper Box Arena in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
In the first ever Panathlon final to be held at the state-of-the-art venue, the reigning champions saw off competition from Sutton, Barking & Dagenham and Bromley to win the Champions trophy, while Redbridge won the inaugural London Plate Final.
After six months and 16 qualifying events involving all 32 London boroughs, eight teams from across the capital – involving 197 children from 21 schools – battled it out across six sports in the Plate and Champions finals, running side-by-side in the famous arena.
In the Champions final, there was only one likely winner from the outset, with Harrow winning all six events with the exception of table cricket – where they came second to Bromley – thereby amassing a huge 58 points out of a possible total of 60.
Huge congratulations to everyone involved at Team Harrow for a fantastic performance. You can view the breakdown of the day on our results pages.
Rob Manning, a teacher at Whitmore High School, part of the Harrow team, was delighted with the win.
“It feels awesome to win and retain our trophy,” said Rob. “The children have absolutely loved today. If it wasn’t for Panathlon the children wouldn’t be able to take part in competitive sporting activities. I would encourage every school to take part in a Panathlon Challenge.”
Ben Murray, a teacher at Shaftesbury High School in Harrow, was full of praise for what Panathlon helps them achieve.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for our pupils to experience a range of sports in a competitive environment,” he said.
“This event promotes a sense of achievement in my pupils and heightens their self-esteem. Our pupils love taking part and thoroughly enjoy the challenge.”
Enjoying the finals were Panathlon ambassador Liz Johnson and Steve Brown, captain of the GB 2012 wheelchair rugby team.
“This is such an amazing and iconic venue to host the final in,” said Liz. “Over the years of Panathlon we have seen such an increase in the level of participation and the quality and skills the children have displayed.”
Over 1,500 competitors had tried to get to the finals and only the top 200 youngsters were able to compete in this Olympic and Paralympic venue.
In the inaugural Plate competition, another strong performance from Redbridge (Seven Kings & Little Heath) was enough to beat second-placed Brent (The Village & Woodfield) with Greenwich (Charlton Park) third and Merton (Perseid & Cricket Green) in fourth.
See how the teams got on across the individual events on our results page.
Abdul, a student at Seven Kings School and member of the winning Redbridge team, was delighted with the win and the opportunity to play table cricket at the Olympic Park.
“I am a real cricket fan,” said Abdul, “so being able to play a form of the game was just fantastic for me. I’m so proud to be representing my local community and even more proud because I’m representing them playing sport.”
Martin Owers, teacher at Seven Kings School, said: “The competition is getting better and better every time. I think the addition of the plate competition was a wonderful idea – one that and my pupils and myself are extremely grateful for.”
Jen Christensen, teacher at Little Heath School in Redbridge, said: “It was such an amazing day and the kids loved it. Thank you so much!”
But it wasn’t just the winners who enjoyed the experience of competing at the Olympic Park.
James Robertson of Riverside School in Bromley, said: “The opportunity to compete at the Copper Box was one none of us will forget in a hurry.
“Although we’ve only just finished for the year, I’m already really looking forward to more Panathlon events next year. They really are the highlight of the calendar for us at Riverside.”
It was a day that those involved won’t ever forget and one that featured a nice souvenir brochure (pictured right) to mark the occasion.
The finals were officiated by an excellent team of Young Leaders from Chessington Community College, Langdon Academy and St. Mary’s University. A huge thank you to you all!
“Panathlon gives children the chance to compete on a level playing field with other young people with disabilities,” said Trudy Kilcullen, CEO of The Jack Petchey Foundation and proud sponsors of Panathlon for the past 10 years.
“It inspires children to push their boundaries and it builds their confidence and it’s just fantastic to see the joy on their faces when they are winning and participating.”
Finally, a huge thanks to all our sponsors and supporters for providing 4,000 disabled children around the country this year the opportunity to compete on a level playing field.
Take a unique look at an incredible day at the Copper Box Arena in this time-lapse video of the day: