Yassir Farah from Stratford Manor School has “got his confidence back” thanks to Panathlon – and his amazing progress has been recognised with our Woodland Group East London Outstanding Achievement winner’s award.

Ten-year-old Yassir has been taking part in Panathlon for four years. Regular competition has been hugely important in regulating his behaviour at school and developing his leadership skills and confidence in and out of a sporting context.

Yassir has autism and was on a behaviour plan at school. He found playing with friends difficult as he didn’t understand boundaries and didn’t know how to act with his peers. He also found the changing rules and guidelines during the pandemic extremely challenging. His disrupted routine affected his confidence and he was prone to anger and frustration.

Taking part in Virtual Panathlon in school and external Panathlon competitions (once Covid-19 restrictions were lifted) proved to be a turning point for him.

His teacher at Stratford Manor, Charlie Murphy, said: “Panathlon has given him his confidence back. You can not only see this in the playgound and during PE lessons but also in the classroom. He now takes on leadership roles within the class and overall in the school.

“Yassir is now a senior member of our Panathlon team and is a captain, a role in which he thrives. With Panathlon, he always has something to look forward to. He knows that if he works hard and does what is expected of him, he will be going on a trip to a Panathlon event.

“Once he knows the date, that is fixed in his mind. He knows the dates of the events better than I do! Due to him having something to work towards, his behaviour has seen a massive change for the better.”

Yassir has now been taken off his behaviour plan. His confidence has risen to such an extent that he referees matches at lunchtime. He even joined a school trip to an outdoor education centre – the first time he’d been away from home. He attends after-school clubs three times a week and has become a member of the school digital
ambassador team.

“If you didn’t know the child, you wouldn’t know the challenges that he has each day,” said Mr Murphy. “Yassir has never given up or refused to participate in anything. He will think about it and always be willing to do it.

“He is now a very popular member of his class and school community. Everybody knows who he is!”

During the lockdowns, Yassir took part in Panathlon’s at-home virtuals challenges. Now, as Panathlon team captain, he has led Stratford Manor teams to two golds and a bronze at external competitions.

Mr Murphy concluded: “Yassir has never given up or taken the easy way out in anything that he faces. He now sees sport, PE and physcial activity in a totally different light.”

Tony Waymouth, Panathlon’s Chief Operating Officer, commented: “It is always so gratifying to hear about the ripple effect our competitions have on schools and individual pupils. Stories like Yassir’s inspire us to reach more pupils in more schools in more areas of the country. Thank you to Stratford Manor for taking part and to our sponsors Woodland Group for making these awards possible.”

Many thanks to our sponsors Woodland Group for supporting our annual Outstanding Achievement awards in Essex and East London