Croydon were crowned champions of the 2012 Panathlon Challenge after 250 disabled schoolchildren competed in the prestigious grand London final.

Teams representing five London boroughs battled it out at Westway Sports Centre, London, on Thursday with 2011 champions Newham narrowly missing out on the title by two points. It was Croydon’s first victory since 2006.

Panathlon has provided multi-sport competition for over 2500 disabled children this year, predominantly across London and the South-East. An amazing 125 London schools from all 32 boroughs have been involved, with 12,500 active hours of sport provided to young disabled people.

GB Paralympians Helen Turner and Louise Sugden awarded the medals and Wendy Hartill, Croydon coach, said: “It is fantastic we came first, and win the London championship for the first time since 2006. Our students performed incredibly well and are very proud of their success.”

Each team in the final progressed through two regional qualifying competitions, participating in a variety of specialised sports. These include boccia, football (SLD ambulant, powerchair and visually impaired) polybat, table cricket, new-age kurling, field and racing athletics.

The final results were:

·         1st Croydon (incorporating pupils from St Giles, Priory, Bencham Manor and Woodcote Schools) 50 points

·         2nd Newham (Eastlea, Langdon, Kingsford, Sarah Bonnell, Brampton,  Cumberland,  Windsor and St Bonaventures Schools) 48

·         3rd Haringey (The Vale, William C Harvey and Moselle Schools) 42

·         4th Harrow (Whitmore, Harrow College and Shaftsbury Schools) 42

·         5th Camden Team Schools (Swiss Cottage, Jack Taylor and South Camden Schools) 28

Panathlon founder Ashley Iceton said: “With excitement really starting to build for the London Paralympics, we are delighted to report that 2012 has been the biggest and best year for Panathlon in our 13-year history. Teachers, coaches, participants and Paralympians continually tell us we provide the most inclusive sports competition for young disabled people. We would like to thank our main funding partners for the huge part they play in bringing sport and activity into the lives of these children.”

Panathlon London’s principal sponsors include the Mayor of London, Jack Petchey Foundation, and St James’s Place Foundation.

As well as the annual programme of events which run from January to June, this year Panathlon Challenge participants have competed at the Olympic Stadium and Stoke Mandeville, the birthplace of the Paralympics. On April 1, they were among the first to compete on the new Olympic track in the Mayor’s Race at the Gold Challenge event.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “It is fantastic to see the Panathlon Challenge going from strength to strength every year, helping to inspire young people to get involved in sport. Grassroots competitions such as this are crucial if we are to achieve our goal of building a lasting sporting legacy in the capital from the 2012 Games. My Sports Legacy Fund was established to support exactly this kind of event.”

Mike Wilson, Chairman of the St. James’s Place Foundation, said: “I am delighted that in our 21st year we are able to invest £265,000 to help improve the lives of so many young people and their families, through the work of Panathlon, especially at this time of economic challenge generally.”

Trudy Kilcullen, Chief Operations Officer for The Jack Petchey Foundation, which is investing £78,245 in Panathlon in London and Essex in 2012, 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 for editors:

  • The Panathlon Foundation (charity no 1072638) has been delivering competitive opportunities for young disabled people since 1999. It has invested £250,000 in sports equipment and coaching funds across London, Kent, Essex and other areas since October 2011. 1,500 disabled young people have been involved in London competitions this year benefiting from coaching grants, equipment provision and 20 sports competitions to date. Additionally Panathlon has delivered 20 training days – qualifying over 200 Young Leaders as Panathlon officials since last October for more details.
  • St. James’s Place Foundation is the charitable arm of the St. James’s Place Wealth Management Group, and started raising funds in 1992. In the 20 years it has been in existence, it has raised in excess of £24 million. It is providing £265,000 over a three year period to help Panathlon in its work, as part of a £2 million programme of support for young people over the next three years. For more information, go to
  • The Mayor of London through the Sports Legacy Fund, has supported Panathlon with £255,000 over the last three years. This fund aims to encourage greater participation in sport in the build up to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by increasing the number of free and nearly-free sporting opportunities for Londoners. For more information please visit
  • The Jack Petchey Foundation was established in 1999 and gives grants to programmes and projects that benefit young people aged 11-25. The Foundation is eager to help young people take advantage of opportunities and play a full part in society. In the last 10 years, in excess of £65 million has been given to a wide range of organisations and schools.

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