A team of disabled pupils from Calderdale have won the inaugural West Yorkshire Panathlon.
The students from Ravenscliffe High School and Brighouse High School took the spoils with a dominating performance as Panathlon made its debut in West Yorkshire.
They saw off competition from Leeds, Bradford and Kirklees on a fantastic day of sporting action involving 67 disabled young people at North Bridge Leisure Centre in Halifax.
Calderdale won four events – boccia, table cricket, polybat and field athletics – on their way to victory with a huge total of 56 points. The other three teams fought out a close battle for second place, with a win in new age kurling giving Leeds the edge over Kirklees as both teams finished on 38 points, whislt Bradford, who won the athletics races, finished just behind on 36 points.
A full breakdown of scores from the six-event programme is available in our results table.
Inspired by visiting a North Yorkshire Panathlon pilot in October, West Yorkshire Sport decided that their own severely disabled children could reap the same benefits and so decided to host their first ever Panathlon as part of the West Yorkshire Sainsbury’s School Games – a decision welcomed by those who got to take part.
“What a fantastic event this is,” said Kirklees teacher Jenny Hughes. “It’s just brill for the kids and it’s all about their camararderie. Ours were shaking hands with the others before each competition. They know each other from inter-school events but it’s great to be able to compete on this level. The opportunities here are endless. What a great day!”
The first Panathlon to be held in West Yorkshire marks the continued growth of Panathlon across the white rose county, which started with a successful pilot North Yorkshire event held in York in October, involving 56 competitors.
This has led to ‘mini Panathlons’ held in three areas across North Yorkshire already this year – in York/Selby, Skipton and Hambleton/Richmond – with one more event to follow in Scarborough on 22nd April.
These events have involved a further 61 competitors, whilst Panathlon has also trained 44 young leaders from local schools to act as officials at the events.
All four participating areas will select teams to compete at a full county-wide North Yorkshire Panathlon to be held on 5th July, whilst plans are underway for a potential South Yorkshire Panathlon in June and a Yorkshire-wide Panathlon in the autumn.
The West Yorkshire Panathlon Challenge was supported by Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, Jelf Insurance Brokers and West Yorkshire Sport.
Sam Hill, a lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office, said: “It was an absolute honour to be asked to hand out some of the prizes to the competitors who worked so hard all day. In our work we see the positive impact events such as these have on those who live with disabilities and it was great to be here to see everyone having such a great time and taking part in such a wide range of sports.
“The organisation works extremely hard to support disabled children who want to be involved in sport and we were delighted to be able to offer our sponsorship and support, particularly as we know how important events like this are for young people.”