St Giles’ School student Jamie Brown is “so, so excited” to be reading the Panathlon Oath before Thursday’s London Finals at the Copper Box Arena.
Jamie, 16, will be representing Croydon in the showpiece event at the iconic 2012 Olympic and Paralympic venue in the Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park.
Each year a specially-chosen competitor is given the honour of reading the Oath before competition begins and Jamie – winner of the 2016 Hassan Ahmed Sporting Achievement award – has been selected this year for his sporting achievements and leadership.
Jamie has cerebral palsy, uses an electric wheelchair and is non-verbal, using an iPad for communication. He is sports-mad and has never let his disabilities stop him from participating in any sport he can.
He is co-captain of St Giles’ Panathlon team and skippered them in last year’s National Schools Boccia Finals in Sheffield. He was also part of Croydon’s winning team at the Copper Box Finals in 2015 and the squad who finished runners-up to Barking & Dagenham last year.
“When we won the South London Final in March to qualify for the Copper Box again, I turned round and saw that Jamie was crying; he was so happy. It shows how much this means to him,” said his teacher, Fiona Bell.
“Jamie is an all-rounder. He is hugely competitive and absolutely loves sport. His dream would be to represent Great Britain at the Paralympics.
“If he didn’t have his disabilities, he is one of those kids who would be in all the school sports teams. But he has found a way to fulfil his potential by working so hard to achieve in boccia. That has opened up huge opportunities for him.”
Jamie has been competing in Panathlons for several years, excelling at the wheelchair races and boccia, and despite not being able to take part in some of the events, he will always cheer and encourage his team-mates.
“That’s why he’s our co-captain,” says Fiona. “He has a positive attitude with all the other children, always telling them ‘well done’. He’s quite an inspirational character.
“Jamie understands the huge honour it is to be asked to read the Oath on Thursday. We’ve been practising with his communication aid, but being the type of lad he is, he wants to use his voice to wish everybody luck at the end.”