Barking & Dagenham are Panathlon London champions again
PUBLISHED: 17:00 15 June 2017
Andrew Fosker / Seconds Left Images 2017
Borough squad defend title at Copper Box Arena
Barking & Dagenham retained their Panathlon London Finals trophy after a very tight contest at the Copper Box Arena at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Victories in boccia and the final two athletics events saw the 2016 winners score 50 points, pipping nearest rivals Enfield by just four.
Croydon, the 2015 winners, finished third on 40, with first-time finalists Merton fourth with 32 points.
Luke Hammett, teacher at Trinity School, who along with Eastbrook, Jo Richardson, Robert Clack, Dagenham Park and Sydney Russell schools made up the Barking & Dagenham team, said: “That was very much tougher than last year. All the team were very, very good.
“That’s what this is about; close competition with amazing skills on show from the kids. I just cannot stress what an amazing event this is.
“The kids get so much from this. This is their World Cup. It’s builds up confidence, social skills and it’s the best event around. The build-up and togetherness as a team all brings out the best in them.”
Eastbrook student Eddie Aviss, 12, added: “It means a lot to compete here because it’s really fun. Panathlon gives you so much enjoyment and it’s a place where you can meet other people and participate in sports, which is what I love. I love competing because the winner gets a trophy.”
Alex Chervnkvo, 12, said: “This means a lot because we all go to different schools and this brings us together as a team. It’s unbelievable to have won. It means so much; it’s so exciting.”
Richard Chiassaro, the European T54 sprint wheelchair champion, attended and is a strong medal hope for Great Britain at the World Para Athletics Championships at the Olympic Park next month.
He said: “There’s a lot of potential among some of the youngsters I’ve seen and they’re having so much fun, which is the main thing.
“There was nothing like this for me when I was a kid. When I had a PE lesson the kids went out on the field and I was left in the hall on my own playing basketball.
“That’s why it’s a pleasure to support Panathlon because it’s so important to give these young people opportunities. There could easily be the World Para athletes of tomorrow here, who started their journeys with Panathlon.”
Panathlon Ambassador Liz Johnson, the triple Paralympic medal-winning swimmer, added: “The Finals being at the Copper Box has made it very appealing to youngsters across all the London boroughs and they want to do really well in those early rounds and progress at this iconic venue.
“It’s really helped the Panathlon movement grow because the carrot of competing at this venue is there from the start of the pathway.”
The day was attended by many of Panathlon’s much-valued funders, including the Jack Petchey Foundation, the Mayor of London, St James’s Place Foundation and the Woodlands Group.
John Stubbings, Director of Woodlands, said: “Over our seven years supporting Panathlon we have seen it grow so much and to see the smiles on the faces of the children at an event on this scale is utterly fantastic.”
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Barking and Dagenham Post. Click the link in the orange box above for details.