Jay Chapman from Eastbrook School in Dagenham has won Panathlon’s coveted Hassan Ahmed Sporting Achievement trophy as part of our 2021/22 Jack Petchey Foundation Outstanding Achivement awards.

Panathlon has given Jay an important platform to find coping strategies for his anxieties around meeting new people and noisy spaces and to deal with distress when it comes to losing in sport.

At Jay’s first ever Panathlon competition, he was very nervous at being out of his comfort zone and reacted negatively when his team lost.

Nina Nicholas, PE teacher at Eastbrook School, worked with Jay one-to-one on finding ways to control his anxiety and dealing better when things didn’t go his way. He attended the school’s Panathlon club to get used to the activities and learn new strategies.

By the time of his next trip out of school for a Panathlon event, he had become not just able to deal with the noise and the competitive element, but he was a motivator and role model for the rest of his team.

Panathlon’s Jack Petchey Foundation Outstanding Achievement awards honour Panathlon’s most impressive competitors and leaders from across London and Essex.

In winning the Hassan Ahmed award, Jay follows in the illustrious footsteps of former winners such as Helen Thompson and Harry Bowtell, who achieved sporting excellence in the face of adversity caused by their disabilities and special educational needs.

Jay was presented with his trophy via Zoom by Panathlon’s ambassador Nathan Maguire, the Team GB Paralympic wheelchair racer.

Teacher Nina (pictured above with Jay and head teacher Mr Frith) said: “Jay has become a became a key person on a pitch and in a team, keeping team morale high regardless of the outcome.

“He is able to motivate his team-mates and celebrate their success if they scored. If a goal went in against him, he would still appreciate his team had tried hard not to let that happen and would try not blame himself.”

Unfortunately, when Covid-19 hit, this caused Jay lots of anxiety and he did not want to leave the house. He decided if he couldn’t leave the house to play football he would play it online with friends instead, while still trying to adopt the idea of playing as a team and not getting too annoyed with himself if he lost.”
The coping strategies that Panathlon enabled him to learn are now useful for him in the classroom learning environment at school. Now in Year 10, Jay has made huge improvements in his conduct which is really helping with his attainment and focus in lessons.

Panathlon Chief Operating Officer, Tony Waymouth, said: “Jay has set a fine example by taking on more and more responsibility. He has become great at helping fellow students and it’s the sporting environment that has allowed this to happen. Sport has become the key to Jay’s transformation and development.”