The 2010 Panathlon Challenge All London final promises to be one of the closest ever. The event, which takes place on 24 June at the Westway Sports Centre, between 11am and 2pm and involves teams from 5 London Boroughs, each of whom have won their way through from hard fought area finals.

The 5 boroughs are – Lambeth, Harrow, Haringey, Croydon and Barking and Dagenham. To add real spice to the occasion 3 of the teams, Harrow, Lambeth and Haringey, are appearing in the final for the first time. Another, Croydon, has won the event twice before, and Barking & Dagenham won it last year so are the defending champions. So everything to play for, and a cracking contest in prospect!

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said, “The Panathlon Challenge is sport at its very finest – competitive, inclusive and inspiring. Long may it continue to thrive.”

200 athletes with severe learning difficulties and/or physical impairments, aged between 8 and 18, will compete in the sports of Boccia, New Age Kurling, Football, Polybat, Table Cricket and Athletics for the honour of being crowned Panathlon Champions 2010.

Liz Johnson, Paralympic Gold Medallist in Beijing 2008 will be attending the event to encourage the competitors and award medals. She broke the 100m breaststroke World Record in April 2010.

The events go ahead with the help of new investment of £83,500 from the Mayor of London through the Sports Legacy Plan for London to increase the number of young disabled people involved. Additional funding comes from the Football Foundation and the Jack Petchey Foundation.

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.”

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “Panathlon does outstanding work in opening up a wide range of sports to our capital’s disabled young people. The Football Foundation’s funding has enabled Panathlon to provide football for around 450 footballers with severe learning difficulties and to launch Powerchair football in five clubs across London this year.”

The Panathlon Challenge is now in its tenth successful year of delivering sporting opportunities and “mini-paralympic” type competitions for young disabled Londoners. This year around 1,000 participants have been involved. It has invested around £250,000 in sports equipment, coaching sessions and multi-sports competitions for severely disabled young people across the country.

There will also be a demonstration of Powerchair Football for severely disabled young people in a ground breaking project with the Wheelchair Football Association, Brentford FC Community Trust and Tottenham Hotspur Foundation. Panathlon supported by the Football Foundation, are creating five Powerchair Football clubs in London supported with specialist equipment and coaching.

Danny Crates, Paralympic Champion and Panathlon charity patron said: “Panathlon is a fantastic opportunity for young disabled Londoners to take part in sporting competition and I wish everybody the best of luck in their own search for gold medals.”

The Jack Petchey Foundation has donated £35,000 towards the Panathlon Challenge in London in 2010. The Foundation, based in Ilford, Essex was founded in 1999 and aims to help develop the potential within young people aged 11-25 right across London and Essex. So far, in excess of £60 million has been given to a wide range of organisations and schools. Trudy Kilcullen, Chief Operations Officer for the Jack Petchey Foundation said. “We are pleased to be supporting the Panathlon Challenge once again, which will benefit many young disabled people in London”