The Central London area final of the 2011 Panathlon Challenge competition produced a very close contest between the teams from Lambeth and neighbours Wandsworth, but the pedigree of the Lambeth team, London finalists in 2010, ensured that they go through to the big event again this year.
They didn’t have it all their own way, however, as a strong challenge from Wandsworth 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. They join Haringey, Croydon, Harrow and Newham in the London Final on June 16th.
In the end only 4 points separated the 2 teams after a day of sporting combat in 7 different sports . Islington and Westminster finished joint 3rd with a creditable 38 points each. Unfortunately these teams will join Wandsworth in having 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 1,000 young disabled people have participated since January to determine who goes becomes 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. Around 100 athletes aged between 8 and 18, (30 to 35 each from the boroughs involved), will compete against each other in the sports of Boccia, New Age Kurling, Polybat, Football, Table Cricket and Athletics
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.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
· Panathlon Challenge has been delivering competitive opportunities for young disabled Londoners since 1999. It will invest £250,000 in sports equipment and coaching funds in 30 London Boroughs in 2011 and expand to all 32 London Boroughs by 2012. Panathlon are investing coaching funds, equipment and multisport competitions between January to June 2011. Panathlon will also be working in Essex, Kent, Liverpool and other cities during 2011, involving around 2,500 disabled young people in total.
· Play Sport London , as part of the Mayor’s ‘A Sporting Future for London’ plan, aims to provide free sporting opportunities to Londoners. The Play Sport London programme provides grant funding to sports clubs and community groups in order to encourage greater participation in sport in the build up to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Panathlon is offered £172,000 over the next two years from the Mayors Sports Participation Fund. For more information please visit http://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/sport/funding-projects/playsport
Kate Hoey, MP for Vauxhall and principal adviser to London Mayor Boris Johnson as Commissioner for Sport, said: “ With the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games fast approaching, Panathlon is exactly the kind of initiative that we should all be getting behind. It brings real, competitive sport to those who might otherwise have missed out on involvement. The Mayor and I are both committed to getting as many young people as possible involved in sport. Events like this show that disability need not be any obstacle to participation. Panathlon deserve huge praise for what it is doing .”