The West London area Final of the 2011 Panathlon Challenge competition produced a close contest between the teams from Harrow, Ealing, Brent and Hounslow, but the pedigree of the team from Harrow, London finalists in 2010, ensured that they go through to the big event again this year on 16 June.
They didn’t have it all their own way, however, as a strong challenge from the other teams 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. Last year they just failed to become the top team, perhaps this is their year, and with 60 points in this contest the omens are good.
Ealing finished 2nd with a very creditable 50 points. Brent were 3rd with 46 points, and Hounslow 4th with 40 points. Unfortunately all these teams will now have to wait until next year before having another tilt at getting through to the final. On hand to award medals and inspire the competitors was Helen Turner, GB Paralympic Basketball star.
Teams from 30 London boroughs involving around 1,000 disabled young Londoners, have participated since January to determine who goes ahead to the big London final in June and become London Panathlon Challenge Champions 2011.
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.”
The Panathlon Challenge is now in its tenth successful year of delivering sporting opportunities and “mini-paralympic” type competitions for young disabled Londoners.
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.”