Teams of disabled youngsters from across south east London have represented their boroughs with pride at the finals of the Panathlon Challenge - a ‘mini Paralympics’ for kids - at the National Sports Centre in Crystal Palace.

Despite putting up a tough fight in the South London Champions Final, students from Bromley, Lewisham and Greenwich lost out to defending champions Croydon, who will be heading back to the Olympic Park in June in a bid to retain their title.

In the plate competition, Bexley students gave it their all, finishing in fourth behind Southwark, Kensington & Chelsea and winners Lambeth.

The charity Panathlon provides more than 7,500 disabled young people with the opportunity to compete at sport each year.

Three-time Paralympic medallist and Panathlon Ambassador Liz Johnson said: “There was a real positive buzz about it and everyone was getting involved.

“I’ve been coming to Crystal Palace for a few years now and every year the numbers and diversity have increased, which I love.”


The Bromley team, which included pupils from Marjorie McClure and Glebe Schools, finished in second place with just four points separating them and the top spot.

Bromley team captain, 19-year-old William Ely from Marjorie McClure School, said he enjoys being a leader as well as a player.

He said: “It’s great being here. When I put the Panathlon shirt for my team on it feels awesome.”

The Lewisham team, made up of pupils from Greenvale, Brent Knoll and Drumbeat Schools, took third place in the Champions Cup.

Brent Knoll student William King, 15, was pleased when the team won at boccia.

He said: “It’s nice to have medals - I’ll put them in my collection. I’ve enjoyed going around supporting everyone else. It’s good to watch lots of different sports.”

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The team representing Lewisham.

Finishing in fourth place in the Champion Cup, the Greenwich team included pupils from Charlton Park Academy, St Paul’s Academy and the John Roan School.

Gordon Stead, School Games Organiser at Charlton Park Academy, described the day as a “super event”.

He said: “It’s the event that provides a chance for us to involve a lot of kids that don’t normally get involved in sport outside of school.

“For these kids to be able to say they’ve come and competed at the National Sports Centre is special for them and a memory for life.”

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The Greenwich team.

For the Bexley team, made up of pupils from Cleve Park School and Shenstone School, the highlight was a gold medal in the boccia competition.

Heather Jolly, teacher at Shenstone School, said: “The kids are loving it.

“It’s their first Panathlon and, generally, all the sports are new to them, so they are all really enjoying it and getting a lot out of it.”

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The team from Bexley.