With just over 100 days to go until the 2012 London Paralympic Games, 150 disabled schoolchildren participated in a multi-sport competition at Stoke Mandeville Stadium on Wednesday.
A group of disabled schoolchildren from Arbour Vale School, from Slough, Berkshire, were celebrating today after winning their first ever Panathlon.
The competition at Stoke Mandeville, the birthplace of the Paralympics, incorporated teams from Berkshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire for the first time. It was part of a two-day Festival of Sport organised by the English Federation of Disability Sports (EFDS) in the build-up to London 2012.
Dunstable School from Bedfordshire were runners-up with 46 points and gold medals in the boccia and athletics field event. Chilterns (Stony Dean School from Amersham and Hertitage House School from Chesham) were third with 36 and South Bucks (Arbourvale School, Slough ) fourth with 30.
Alison Sturla, team manager for Alfriston School, said: “Our first experience of Panathlon has been amazing.
“It is exciting with hugely appropriate sports, extremely well organised with superb Young Leaders, and we can’t wait for the next one.”
The event was supported by EFDS and Disability Sports Events, and 21 Young Leaders from Mill Hill School, north London, helped run it.
Panathlon founder Ashley Iceton said: “Our first Panathlon at the home of the Paralympics, Stoke Mandeville, was fantastic.
“Over 150 disabled children competing in six sports and our new friends from Beds, Berks, Chilterns and South Bucks should be proud of their performances. We look forward to working with them again next year.”
Around 2,500 disabled young people have participated in Panathlon during 2012 so far, predominantly across London and the south-east. Four new teams from Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire took part at Stoke Mandeville.
Panathlon founder Ashley Iceton said: “This special event at Stoke Mandeville, held in partnership with EFDS and Disability Sport Events, gives us an excellent opportunity to showcase Panathlon in an historic setting. Panathlon has already staged a race at the Olympic Stadium in London and it is great we had 150 disabled competitors compete at the birthplace of the Paralympics.”
Panathlon is funded by mix of supporters, including the Mayor of London, the Jack Petchey Foundation and St James’s Place Foundation.
The Panathlon Challenge is still ongoing, with five London boroughs – Croydon, Haringey, Newham, Camden and Harrow – set to compete in the 2012 All London final at the Westway Sports Centre, Hammersmith on June 14.
Notes to editors:
- For more information about The Panathlon Foundation, please see News, Blogs, Gallery and Results section of this website
- The Panathlon Challenge has been delivering competitive opportunities for young disabled people since 1999. It incorporates the sports of boccia, polybat, table cricket, new-age kurling, football and athletics, and involves disabled children aged between five and 19.
- Panathlon is funded by a variety of supporters including Mayor of London, Jack Petchey Foundation and St James’s Place Foundation.
- For sponsorship opportunities please contact Ashley Iceton on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07976 259251
- For Panathlon media enquiries please contact Simon Lansley on email@example.com or 07973 595791
- Delivered by Disability Sport Events (DSE), the Festival of Sport South will also include the RFU MLD Tag Rugby Finals. The disabled children aged six to 16 years old have entered as individuals and schools from all over the UK. For further information please contact Jamie Blair at firstname.lastname@example.org