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St Mary’s Hosts 22 Special Educational Needs Schools for Sports Competitions

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St Mary's University, Twickenham hosted the West London Regional Panathlon Challenge competition with over 150 competitors from 22 West London Special Educational Needs (SEN) schools.

Panathlon is a multi-sports disability competition involving school age children with learning disabilities, enabling them to compete in the sports of Boccia (Paralympic sport), New Age Kurling, Cricket, Polybat (Table Tennis adaption) and adapted Athletics.

St Mary's students received training in these sports back in September with Panathlon and have been coaching in the schools to prepare the children for the competition as part of their course.

Hounslow, Merton, Sutton and Hillingdon teams competed in the Champions Competition and teams from Ealing, Kingston, Wandsworth and Richmond competed in the Plate Competition, both competitions took place in the Tennis Centre, supported by students from St Mary's sports programmes. 

The Champions competition was very close with Merton and Hillingdon ending on a tie, requiring a countback to establish Merton as the winners.

Merton won the competition courtesy their victories in the Kurling, Polybat & Field Athletics.

In the Plate competition, Wandsworth had a great day winning the competition by six points.

Team organizer, Nick Millar, said, "Everything went for us today, it's a great result for the team to be back at the finals again."

Ealing came second. Both Merton and Wandsworth qualify for the London Finals at The Copper Box in June, with Merton being their first time in the Champions London Final.

Sports Facilities Assistant Manager, Cathryn Ogori said, “We are very happy to provide great facilities to support the Panathlon event each year, it is an excellent multi-sports event for children with disabilities.  It is great to see so many young people from local schools engaging in inclusive sports.”

Alexandra Monk, Lecturer on the Physical and Sport Education Programme added, “St Mary’s and Panathlon have been working together in a mutually beneficial relationship for the last few years. Physical and Sport Education (PSE) students have undertaken adapted sport training, volunteered as team leaders, and undertaken their placement hours within Panathlon linked schools to help support and deliver high quality adapted sports.

“Students have thoroughly enjoyed the invaluable experience of working with young people with a range of disabilities and experienced teachers and coaches.

“Adapted coaching and teaching is of real interest to our PSE students, with many electing to take modules to further expand their skills as future PGCE and coaching students.

“Our staff and students thoroughly enjoyed the Regional Panathlon Challenge and we look forward to continuing to work together.”



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