The FINAL of the 2010 Kent Panathlon Challenge sports competition for disabled youngsters took place on Wednesday May 26th at the Malling School, Beech Road, East Malling, and involved teams from Central, East and West Kent. Each team had had gold medal winners competing in it from the previous rounds in April, who had qualified to represent their district.

After an enthralling and exciting day of competitive sport, the team from Central Kent emerged triumphant to take the 2010 Champions title. They narrowly beat the team from East Kent by the margin of only 4 points with a total of 52 points. West Kent came a close third on 44 points.

All teams achieved outright wins in individual sports, meaning that success on the day was spread across all teams. The Central Kent team managed 3 outright wins in polybat, kurling and athletics, which, with the points they gained in other sports, allowed them to outscore the others. Credit though to the other two teams who never gave up and turned it into such an exciting sporting contest.

101 disabled young people took part from 11 schools. The Central team was made up from Meadowfield School, Sittingbourne, Abbey Court school in Greenacre, Medway, Wyvern School, Ashford and Bower Grove Maidstone. The West team was from Ridgeview School, Tonbridge, Five Acre, Maidstone, Milestone, Ash Green Dartford and Thamesview School in Gravesend. The East Team was made up Abbey School Faversham, St. Anslems School Canterbury and the Foreland School in Broadstairs.

The teams competed across a range of sports – Boccia, New Age Kurling, Polybat, Table Cricket and Athletics, over a 3 hour period.

Dervis Konuralp was present to encourage the competitors and to help hand out medals and certificates. Dervis is a four time Paralympic swimmer, winning a total of 35 major international medals, 14 of which are gold. “I am a visually impaired person, but I have never allowed my disability to stand in the way of my goals, dreams, and ambition” he said.

The Panathlon Challenge is now in its tenth successful year of delivering sporting opportunities and “mini-paralympic” type competitions for young disabled sports people. The event went ahead with the help of investment from the BBC Children in Need and Kent Sport.

Mike Bishop, Disability Sport Manager for Kent County Council said, “Kent Sport is very pleased to be working with Panathlon to help develop more sports opportunities for disabled school pupils in Kent. The Panathlon programme complements other work going on in the County, such as Kent Disability School Games and Playground to Podium. Today’s event was a great success and we look forward to more in 2011”.

Panathlon is investing around £250,000 in sports equipment, coaching sessions and multi-sports competitions in London, Essex and Kent during 2010, aiming to create many sporting opportunities for disabled youngsters.