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Bexley youngsters star in south London finals of mini paralymics

PUBLISHED: 15:04 11 March 2016 | UPDATED: 15:04 11 March 2016

The Bexley team show off their Panathlon medals

The Bexley team show off their Panathlon medals

Andrew Fosker 2016

Panathlon provides over 7,500 disabled young people with the opportunity to compete at sport each year

A team of disabled youngsters from Bexley have respresented the borough in the south London finals of a challenge described as the mini Paralympics.

Taking place at the National Sports Centre in Crystal Palace, Bexley finished fourth in the Panathlon plate competition behind Southwark, Kensington & Chelsea and eventual winners Lambeth, and the day was described as a hugely positive experience for all the children competing.

Students from Cleve Park School and Shenstone School secured a gold medal in the boccia competition - similar to bowls - and a bronze medal in the relay races, and Heather Jolly, teacher at Shenstone, was delighted with her students’ achievements.

She 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.

“Panathlon is a really inclusive event. It’s difficult to find events that are suitable for SLD children and Panathlon is just that.

“They offer great support to help us get up and running with the sports, there is flexibility at the events and the staff are very knowledgable about the disabilities our children have - that’s what makes it so good.”

Panathlon provides over 7,500 disabled young people with the opportunity to compete at sport each year - many of whom would otherwise not get the chance - with over 2,000 youngsters set to benefit from the charity’s inclusive range of programmes in London this year.

Three-time Paralympic medallist and Panathlon ambassador Liz Johnson said: “Today’s final was great and the thing that struck me the most was the level of activity.

“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.”

All 32 London boroughs battle it out in between January and March for a place in Panathlon’s London finals at the state-of-the-art Copper Box Arena on 16 June.

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