Bromley youngsters star in south London finals of mini paralymics

PUBLISHED: 16:01 11 March 2016 | UPDATED: 16:02 11 March 2016

Bromley captain William Ely in the relay race

Bromley captain William Ely in the relay race

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 Bromley 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, Bromley put up a determined fight, but narrowly lost out to defending champions Croydon, who will be heading back to the Olympic Park in June in a bid to retain their London title.

Students from Marjorie McClure and Glebe Schools claimed a respectable second place after winning the table cricket and athletics events.

Despite the narrow defeat, the Bromley team still had a very successful day, having used the day to give their students, who have a range of special educational needs, a greater leadership role within the competition environment.

Guy Wilkins, teacher at Marjorie McClure Special School, said: “The performance isn’t our best ever, but they are really enjoying being leaders and masters of their own destiny.

“So it’s all about the bigger picture for me today and equipping the students for when they leave school. This is more powerful.”

Bromley team captain William Ely, 19, from Marjorie McClure, added: “It’s great being here. When I put the Panathlon shirt for my team on it feels awesome.

“I like to play but I’m a leader today as well. You’ve got to organise the games and make sure people know what games they are playing in.”

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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