Amelie Wawn’s teachers describe her as ‘fearless’ and ‘a powerful role model’ – attributes that have earned her Panathlon’s prestigious 2024 Jack Petchey Foundation Hassan Ahmed Sports Award.

Amelie is a student at Alexandra Park School in Muswell Hill, North London. During her 15 years, she has faced significant adversity – but there is no barrier she has not been able to overcome.

The teenager has a condition called Leber Congenital Amaurosis – a visual impairment causing short-sightedness and sensitivity to light. She struggles to see clearly and uses a digital magnifier in class. She cannot see the colour green so teachers use blue and white board markers in class.

A teaching assistant usually sits alongside Amelie in class to support her. This has been frustrating for her as, like most teenagers, she prefers her own space or the company of her peers.

However, sport – and Panathlon in particular – has been an important outlet for her. She has taken every opportunity to engage in opportunities presented to her by Brendan Amooty, Alexandra Park School’s specialist PE teacher and other staff members.

During the pandemic, Amelie revelled in our in-school Virtual Panathlon programme, particularly boccia and polybat. This started within school ‘bubbles’ but as restrictions lifted, Amelie was able to attend external Panathlon Challenge multi-skills challenges and football festivals with other schools. These helped develop her confidence and build strong friendships. She then started representing Team Haringey at London Youth Games Para Sports events.

Mr Amooty commented: “Amelie is a powerful role model, not just at school, but also when participating in sports and leadership for both Panathlon Challenge and the London Youth Games’ Games Force team.

“Amelie is fearless and has increasingly shown independence whilst participating in a range of sports events, even when her friends have not attended.”

Boccia England used Amelie’s success in a variety of inclusive sports as a case study as she trialled their VI peg board. The London Youth Games also celebrated Amelie’s sporting achievements in their 2023 impact report.

Mr Amooty said: “Amelie’s can-do attitude is one of her many strengths and is helping her overcome some of the challenges that life has thrown her way. Sport and Panathlon in particular, has helped Amelie on this journey, by helping to build her confidence and problem-solving skills. There is no obstacle that Amelie has faced, that she has not managed to conquer.”

Some of Amelie’s Panathlon highlights include:

  • Winning the Haringey 10-pin bowling final in 2022 with the top combined score of 401 and finishing third the following year
  • Winning the London Plate football final at Wembley in 2022 having finished third with the Alexandra Park team in the North London final
  • Winning the Haringey boccia final to qualify for the London Youth Games where she also won gold

Amelie has not only dedicated time and passion into competing, she also supports others as a sports leader. She has guided pupils and officiated at several local Primary Panathlon competitions. “She never misses out on an opportunity to get involved,” says Mr Amooty.

Amelie is the latest in a line of award-winners from Alexandra Park School. Last year, Finn Bartholemew won our main Outstanding Achievement award and Kyan Nicholson won it in 2021. The school was also given a Special Recognition award in the same year.

Tony Waymouth, Panathlon’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “We congratulate Amelie on all that she has achieved in the sporting arena despite the significant obstacle of visual impairment. Our heartfelt thanks also go to Brendan Amooty and the sports staff at Alexandra Park for their support for Panathlon for so many years.”