A group of 17 pupils, aged four to 11, from Kingsbury Green School in Brent , and nine pupils, aged eight to 11, from Norwood Green School in Hounslow, were among 50 primary school children battling it out in the first London Deaf Panathlon Challenge on Thursday (January 21).
The multi-sport contest involved students from five schools who participated, in mixed teams alongside peers from Islington and Haringey, in boccia, new age kurling, table cricket, polybat and athletic field events.
Norwood Green student Jaspreet Saghal, aged 10, said: “I played table cricket, which we won.
"I hit lots of sixes and scored lots of points for the team, which helped us win the final.”
Kingsbury Green student Aaliyah Sabeel, aged seven, said: “I played kurling. I like when you roll it and you get points.
"I got a [maximum] five and a four and a three. It made me feel happy. I like being here.”
Children played in mixed school teams which allowed them to develop team building, communication and leadership skills, whilst getting to know other deaf or hearing-impaired young people.
Head of centre for the Deaf at Norwood Green School, Vhaire Stewart, said: “We’re the only hearing-impaired resource within the borough so we don’t often get the chance to mix with other schools apart from at events like these.
“The kids love Panathlon. Here there are lots of benefits: they enjoy it, it raises their confidence, they are doing something active and they are getting to mix with other deaf children. It’s very good.”
All children can join in
The event was part of Panathlon charity’s expanding deaf programme that will involve over 600 young people this year.
Marianne Haylett, teacher for the deaf at Kingsbury Green School, added: “Our children really enjoy Panathlon.
“They do PE at school and some are able to take part in school teams, but none are involved in deaf activities other than through Panathlon.
“This competition means that all of our children can join in with something and everyone’s had a chance.”
A team of deaf students from Oak Lodge School in Wandsworth, trained as Panathlon young leaders, officiated the event at Sobell Leisure Centre in Islington.
Panathlon COO Tony Waymouth said: “The multi-sport event was another step forward in Panathlon’s deaf programme in London. The chance to participate in a team alongside peers from other schools enhances the competition and provides a raft of opportunities for these children.”
The Panathlon Foundation is a national sports charity for disabled young athletes, which expanded to include a deaf programme in November 2013, and is expected to provide sports opportunities to 600 deaf and hearing-impaired youngsters this year.
The London Deaf Panathlon programme is supported by the City Bridge Trust and the Ovingdean Hall Foundation.