There was nothing like this available to me when I was a kid. I wish I’d had the opportunity that these children have got. What Panathlon are doing is brilliant and I’m really happy to be here and try to inspire these kids to keep doing it.
Richard Chiassaro, Team GB wheelchair racer and Panathlon patron
I’ve been coming to Panathlon events for years and what never ceases to amaze me is how much enjoyment the athletes get from the competition and how competitive they are. But what is truly amazing is how the event has now grown. With over 200 events a year now, Panathlon really has cemented itself in the sporting calendar.
Danny Crates, Paralympic gold medallist and world record holder in the 800m (T46) and Panathlon patron
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
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
If there’s anything that demonstrates an Olympic and Paralympic legacy, it’s this. Some of the legacy has got a bit lost along the way, but not here. That’s why I love it so much. There is no other organisation that puts on something this inclusive and this competitive. It’s completely unique and I love it.
Alex Brooker, star of Channel 4’s ‘The Last Leg’ and Panathlon Patron
This has been an excellent experience for everyone involved today, great to see so many schools involved. The students look forward to it each year – I see pupils today that are the happiest they have been all year. It is great going back to Stoke Mandeville to represent the county as well.
Nikki Farmer, a teacher at Kingfisher School of Abingdon
This place is really fantastic. I swam so fast I was like a machine! When I finish I just feel so confident, happy and proud.
Freddy Leech, aged 14, Enfield
Panathlon is huge for us. There aren’t many opportunities for the whole school to get out together as a school, but Panathlon offers just that. It’s great for the kids. It’s brilliant for their confidence and self-esteem.
Louise Ross, Head of PE at Strathmore School, Richmond
Panathlon has been the main driving force behind sport in school. There was never any place for us to go and play sport of a competitive nature until Panathlon came to Essex, so we owe pretty much everything that we do to them.
Brandon Mullin, Head of PE at Beacon Hill Academy, Thurrock
Our team won the gold medal. It feels very nice, like we’ve won the Olympics.
Valentin Roci, aged 10, Haringey
Prior to being involved in Panathlon, all we could do was what we did on site at school with our own kids. We weren’t involved in competition with other schools, so this is fantastic.
Caroline Wells, Director of Doucecroft School Services, Colchester
Today has really inspired the children to want to carry on swimming. They feel super proud knowing that they did the best for themselves but also their team. The feeling of, ‘Are we actually here and doing it ?’ resonated through everyone.
Towers Junior School, Havering.
I enjoy coming out to Panathlon. I like the atmosphere of it all. It’s very loud – you can’t hear yourself think! There’s a lot of responsibility to be representing Worcestershire, but it feels good.
Grace Kempson, aged 15, Bromsgrove
“Today’s gala gives children confidence and it’s wonderful for their self-esteem. This is their first time in a swimming gala and it gives them a brand new experience. The variety of activities means the children can participate at a level of relevant competence.”
Doncaster Deaf Trust
What an amazing day and a real joy to be part of it. I can’t believe it the kids can’t believe it. I thought the atmosphere in the hall was super and team spirit was in abundance.
Samuel Wade, teacher at Knowleswood, Bradford
Getting these children to do sport and experience achievement is just fantastic. They’ve loved every minute of it. Generally speaking, they aren’t high achievers within school, so for them to experience winning, getting a medal and getting to the National Final is unreal.
Moorgate School, Bolton
There aren’t usually many opportunities for these children, particularly those in wheelchairs, but Panathlon provides quite a big range of sports for them to do. It also helps develop life skills, their behaviour and social skills.
Robert Zawistak, teacher at West Lea School, Enfield
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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!
Thomas, 14, Brooksbank School
It has been amazing. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Coming here to this huge place makes you feel nervous at first, but once you do it and get to the finish line, it makes you feel so proud of what you’ve done.
Jade Horsfall, aged 16, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
A big thank you to Panathlon and everyone involved in organising these events. They are such a positive experience for all the children and staff, not just the winning team but everyone. They are so valuable in helping the children develop new skills, greater confidence and a sense of being an important part of their school team
Mowbray School, North Yorkshire
It was great being part of a team. This is the first time I have ever been in a real race, it was such great fun.
Bempton School Bridlington
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 is great for Scott and has made him more confident. Years ago I had to push him to get him involved. Now he loves to participate and he will make the first move
Heather Pope, mother of Scott, runner-up at the 2014 Jack Petchey Outstanding Achievement Award
Panathlon gives disabled children something which they can achieve for themselves. They all want to do Panathlon.
Lorraine Veck, Special Needs Classroom Assistant, Coteford Junior School
To represent the school at this huge arena is excellent for our children who don’t tend to participate in any other sporting events. It helps them concentrate and boosts their self-esteem massively
Robinswood School Gloucester
We’ve got kids here today from all different year groups who don’t normally mix together, but here they are all one team and are working well together. The camaraderie in the team is great.
Kevin Hughes, Assistant Head of PE at Arbour Vale School, Slough
The pupils who attended don’t get much opportunity to mix with others and take part in events, so to be invited and included in every sport was fantastic. It massively boosted their confidence, made them feel included and gave them a sense of achievement.
Villa Real School, Durham
We’re a mainstream school so these kids would normally get very little opportunity to play for their school teams, so Panathlon is great for their self-esteem and confidence.
Annie Sturgeon, teacher at Highworth Combined School, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire
I knew we would win again. I just knew it. This is fantastic. I am very excited and happy. I just love the table cricket, which we won a gold in too.