Panathlon provides an opportunity for disabled children to mix with others and experience competition; which is so important. Every person in the team matters and has a contribution to make to the final points score. Participation in sport sets you up for life, and every child should be encouraged to get involved.
Liz Johnson, Paralympic swimming champion and Panathlon ambassador
It’s fantastic what Panathlon does for disabled children. When I was first disabled and in a mainstream school, PE was really limited and the teachers didn’t really know what to do with me. If Panathlon had been available to me then, it would have helped me a lot for sure.
Freya Levy, a member of the Great Britain wheelchair basketball team
The Panathlon Challenge is a great way of encouraging young people into sport. I hope many more young people have the opportunity to compete in the future.
Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, multi-Paralympic gold medallist
I think it is a fantastic charity. The more people, of all abilities, that you can get involved in sport and health and fitness in a fun and engaging way can only be a good thing. And to have this event at the London Aquatics Centre is just another example of the legacy of London 2012
It is fantastic to see Panathlon going from strength to strength every year, helping to inspire young people to get involved in sport. Grassroots competitions such as this are crucial if we are to achieve our goal of building a lasting sporting legacy in London from the 2012 Games.
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
“It means a lot because, these children wouldn’t normally partake in competitions and represent their school. It just gives them so much confidence. There are some kids here who I’ve never heard say a word at school, but they haven’t stopped talking since we got here!”
Sue Chambers, St Helens School, Brentwood
It’s amazing. The kids couldn’t stop talking about it. They’ve been working really hard over the last term – practice, practice, practice. They’ve been really excited about today for a few weeks. Look at the venue. You couldn’t ask for anywhere better to compete – this really is the icing on the cake.
Jonathan Bath, teacher at The Village School, Brent
You just can’t buy this: the competition, the interaction, the fulfilment the children get from it and, of course, their smiles!
St. James’s Place volunteer Jon Ellis
Sport is really important because it allows people to express themselves. Disability shouldn’t hold you back. If you want to play sport you should be able to do it to the best of your ability and not be held back in any way.
David Ejinkonye, 2014 Panathlon Young Leader of the Year, St Paul’s Academy, Greenwich
I really enjoy Panathlon. It’s a big responsibility representing the school and Birmingham, but I’ve enjoyed it. We practise the sports back at school, so that when it comes to the Panathlon, we’re quite good at them.
Harris Abdullah, aged 13, Birmingham
At the end of a Panathlon event I feel like it’s a big achievement for me, because I can’t really do many sports. This is one I can do, and I love it.
Panathlon is unique in bringing everyone together; people with learning difficulties or physical disabilities – they all get to take part, which is great. It’s a level playing field and everyone has a chance of competing.
Dan O’Brien, teacher at Woodfield School, Brent
Panathlon gives young people a sense of pride, self-esteem and achievement. You can take that into all aspects of life.
Elaine Burgess, school games organiser for Barking & Dagenham
Since we got involved in Panathlon, the kids all really want to do PE now. Their self confidence has just come on amazing. The more events we come to, the more the kids are getting used to it and the more they are enjoying it.
Andrea Griffiths, sports co-ordinator at Doucecroft School, Colchester
This is the first time I’ve played football here at Wembley. It’s inspiring. It’s good to take part, as tournaments like this aren’t normally for disabled kids.
Cameron O’Connor, aged 12, Southwark
Panathlon gives the children more freedom. At school they are restricted to their schedules, but when they come here there’s more going on. They can go around and observe other things as well as participating themselves.
Aaron Bint, PE teacher at Queensmill School, Hammersmith & Fulham
We at St Catherines give the SEN children lessons on a weekly basis, however we have never been able to put lessons into practice and this is the first time we have been able to compete in a competition. This has been such an experience for the students.
St Catherines, Sheffield
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Our children aren’t involved in deaf activities other than through Panathlon. This competition means that all of our children can join in with something and everyone’s had a chance.
Marianne Haylett, teacher for the deaf at Kingsbury Green School, Brent
Achieving at Panathlon helps the children right across the curriculum. It gives them that sense that they can achieve something on their own merit, which gives them the confidence to try in other areas of school.
Beverly Shillingford, inclusion team leader at Langdon Academy, Newham
Panathlon is great because it allows more children the chance to join in and compete. It’s an event that doesn’t focus on their disabilities, but on what they are able to do. It levels the playing field and the children are all enjoying themselves today. It’s fantastic.
Dawn Catley, education engagement officer at Active Essex
We have a very small unit at school, so for the children to mix and meet others with hearing impairments was the first opportunity that they have had. They had a wonderful day.
Joy Pollard, teacher at Hawthorn Primary School, Birmingham
There are no events for me to go to apart from Panathlon. It’s really good to be here representing my school and my borough. I’m really excited about going to the Olympic Park.
James Feltham, aged 12, Sutton
Some of the kids here today hardly take part in any sport at all, only boccia, so this gives them a great chance to get involved.
Val Harnett, Enfield team manager and teacher at West Lea School
The children competed in a variety of well-organised activities, each of which they thoroughly enjoyed. Many of the team commented that their favourite was the boccia blast as it wasn’t anything like they had experienced before.
Tweedale Primary School, Sutton
I always thought that I wasn’t the sporty kind and wouldn’t be good at sport, but I got selected for Panathlon and, as I’ve got older, I’ve realised that I’m quite good at it and I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s great to know that sport is available for everyone.
Zahra Naqvi, aged 13, Milton Keynes, Bucks
Some events sound like the children need to show and be independence, a lot of ours wont have done that before, it will be good for them to do an event like that.
Their independence has grown over the last couple of years and this has definitely been helped through their participation in Panathlon.
Southwood Primary, Barking & Dagenham
It’s brilliant,” he said. “I’m very proud of myself and I had a good time with my team – we won the West Midlands final! I look forward to showing off the medals to the headteacher and everyone at school.
Harris Abdullah – Hall Green School
This is my second year volunteering at a Panathlon event and it is a truly inspiring organisation. the enthusiasm the children have for the event, together with the thanks they express to the people volunteering is humbling.