Two teams of disabled youngsters from Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea got a taste of life as Paralympians when they competed in the Panathlon London final in the Copper Box Arena on Saturday.
The Olympic 2012 venue for handball played host to 175 disabled students from 22 London schools for the finals of the Panathlon Challenge - a mini paralympics for kids.
Just being at the event represented a huge achievement in itself for both teams. The finals were the culmination of months of competition in the capital, involving over 1,500 students with a range of special educational needs from all 32 London boroughs across 16 qualifying rounds in a range of sports.
As well as athletics events, the competition includes several distinctive Paralympic sports such as Polybat (a variant of table tennis), table cricket (a tabletop derivative of cricket), boccia (a Paralympic sport) and new age kurling (an indoor derivative of curling).
The 25 strong team Hammersmith & Fulham team consisted of children from Parayhouse, Jack Tizard, St Augustine’s RC Primary & Queensmill Schools . This was only the first time that the Hammersmith & Fulham's team had competed at a Panathlon final.
On the day, H&F struggled to keep pace with their more experienced opponents in the day’s first four events boccia, table cricket, polybat and new age kurling.
Nevertheless they achieved a respectable fourth place finish in the multisport contest won by Croydon.
The day finished on a high for the team following strong team performances in the athletics events as Hammers won silver in the field events and bronze in the relay races.
It was also a good day for Kensington & Chelsea who finished fourth in the plate competition won by Brent.
The K&C team also enjoyed their Olympic Park experience and received a trophy from Steve Brown, Team GB wheelchair rugby captain at London 2012, and Alex Brooker, star of Channel 4’s ‘The Last Leg’.