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
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.
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.
The atmosphere that Panathlon creates is awesome. These people here are playing to win and it’s nice to see that attitude amongst them. I think it’s important that everybody has the chance to compete and take part at whatever level they want to.
Panathlon is always fun, but it’s not just about playing games. It’s about competing for your school against another school. The kids feel proud about that and want to do well. They love it.
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.
The Mayor and I are delighted to be supporting the Panathlon Final, the culmination of a year-long programme of fantastic sporting activity. The Panathlon Foundation do incredible work that benefits thousands of young disabled Londoners and their appearance at the Copper Box Arena in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is a fitting finale to the year.
I am inspired by the work of Panathlon and it gives me great joy to see the happiness on the young people’s faces.
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.
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 the capital from the 2012 Games. My Sports Legacy Fund was established to support exactly this kind of event.
I am proud that partners such as Panathlon are delivering on our vision of the Olympic & Paralympic Games boosting sports participation.
The Panathlon Challenge is unique and I hope that many more young people have the opportunity to take part in the future.
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.
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. No-one else is doing anything like this. There is no other organisation that puts on something this inclusive and this competitive. It’s completely unique and I think they deserve as much funding as possible.
I feel like a real sportsman doing wheelchair slalom. Panathlon is great because it’s only disabled people that can take part and I got near my personal best today.
There isn’t sport for all of our children at this level. We have a few students who do competitive sports with the mainstream children but, without Panathlon, there wouldn’t be a chance for the other kids to take part in competition.
It feels like heaven, this is what pure enjoyment feels like, It being Columbus’s first every victory just makes it that more sweet.
Lillie had no confidence in the water, but today she amazed us, the activities made it so inclusive and the all the children surprised us what they could do, today gave children at Norfolk Primary a chance to shine.
Today 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 in an amazing place like this.
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.
This has been brilliant experience for the children. We have really enjoyed competing in the Primary Panathlon over the past two years, and now that there is another opportunity for them to compete it’s all extremely exciting.
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.
This is one of the best experiences of my life. My favourite is the table top cricket because you get to really smash the ball. Panathlon has lifted my confidence and skills.
My favourite things about today were the races, the medals and the freedom. I felt fresh, healthy and free in the pool. The ball race was my favourite.
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.
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.
“I love it here because it doesn’t make me feel like I’m unusual. Most of the time at school if my legs go and I collapse, I feel unusual, but being here with all these people just makes me feel regular. This is my third Panathlon and it makes me feel there’s other people like me. It makes me feel normal for once. Panathlon makes me feel happy. When I get home I am going to hang my medal on my bedroom wall.”
I’ve had the best day ever. I can’t wait to go home and tell my mum all about it and show her my medals.
Panathlon is pretty much the only competition these kids have. A lot of them don’t have the option for sports outside of school. Having this big tournament is really the only time they can access all of these sports in one place. It’s very rare and it’s very good.
This is a wonderful day, encouraging a great deal of social interaction. This is such an important aspect of the language resource of learning. Thank you so much for all your hard work in making Panathlon competitions happen.
Panathlon offers the most even playing field. It’s the one competition that caters for students of lower ability. It’s imperative that they get the opportunity to compete for their school and their borough. I love the ethos of the event and the competition.
I’ve never really done this sort of thing before. It’s my first time in a swimming competition and it’s been pretty amazing.
“I’m going to go home and wave this medal in my brother’s face, because he’s never won a medal! I really like the water – it makes me feel happy. It’s amazing to be here because if you think about it, Tom Daley has been in this very same pool, so it’s extra special.”
“We’ve done three Panathlon events now and these guys have been such a close-knit team throughout the rounds. They had never even spoken to each other before, but this has brought them all together and they’re never apart now. Panathlon is such a blessing, it really is, It has been a real journey for all of them. I would feel terrible if these kids couldn’t take advantage of this opportunity. A lot of mainstream school, yes, it’s inclusive, but it’s very hard for them to actually get involved. This is totally different and it’s why they love it so much.”
I don’t think there’s any better way for the kids to develop their confidence. I’ve seen them develop from shy, retiring children to really confident young men and women. It’s life-changing.
It’s a good experience. People can’t always get out and do active things but this helps bring people together and make friends.
I love competing against other schools as it’s great to meet new people. We’re over the moon and amazed to be going to the Olympic Park.
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.