After three years of trying, Middlesbrough have won their first Panathlon Challenge and have been crowned 2015 Tees Valley Champions.

110 young disabled people competed at Eston Leisure centre as part of the Tees Valley School Games finals.

Having finished third last year, Middlesbrough won the five team competition by winning three of the six events to topple defending champions Hartlepool. The team triumphed in both athletics disciplines of track and field and won the new age kurling to take the title by six points. See our results page for the full breakdown.

Craig Heap (pictured above left), Commonwealth and Olympic gymnast was on hand to motivate the children throughout the event. He said: “I really enjoy this competition and Panathlon provides such a great experience year on year.”

Craig also presented the 19 sports leaders from Egglescliffe School with their certificates and medals. A big thank you to the young leaders (pictured right) who did a fantastic job officiating the sports throughout the day.011

The Head of Tees Valley’s School Games Local Organising Committee, Chris Walker  said: “This is my favourite activity of the day; Panathlon provides these children with an opportunity to participate and be involved as part of an inclusive event. Thank you Panathlon for providing disabled children with a great experience.”

Reece Costello of the Middlesbrough team said: “I have won a gold in the javelin, now the team has won the trophy for first place. This is awesome, the best day of my life.”

Middlesborough team manager Gerry Makin said: “I can’t believe we have won, the team has come together from across Middlesbrough and as part of the day we have not only won, but we have learnt about being a team with new members, created new social interaction and showed respect to others. Today has been awesome.”

Tracey Kelly, teacher from Cleveland & Redcar said: “Panathlon is the only activity my children will do. They don’t do PE but they want to do Panathlon. They enjoy being in a team, supporting their team mates and playing against other children.”

Earlier in the month, a special PMLD (Profound Multiple Learning Difficulties) Panathlon took place at Marsh House Leisure Centre with 35 participants from five schools, assisted by 10 young leaders.

Thank you to Tees Valley Sport and the Tees Valley Community Foundation for their support.

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