Dagenham student crowned Panathlon Champion 2015
On Wednesday 18 November with the Olympic Stadium in the background, Dagenham teenager Georgina Hart (pictured right) was crowned Panathlon Champion 2015 and recieved the Jack Petchy Outstanding Achievement Award.
Paralympic swimming champion and Panathlon Ambassador, Liz Johnson presented 15-year-old Georgina with her award at fouth annual Jack Petchy Awards ceremony in Stratford, London. The ceremony was held at the John Lewis, Stratford City store, in their prestigious Olympic Suite.
Georgina was selected from a shortlist of outstanding young people to be named as the standout competitor of this year's Panathlon Challenge - a ‘mini Paralympics’ for children.
After joining Jo Richardson Community School in 2012, Georgina has enjoyed taking part in Panathlon and is a key member of the Barking and Dagenham Panathlon Team - who finished second in the Panathlon London final at the Copper Box Arena in the Olympic Park in June.
Georgina, who has cerebral palsy competes in the precision beanbag event and the running races. Outside of Panathlon, she is an active member of her local cycling club, drama group and is looking forward to the challenge of complete her Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award soon.
Also at the ceremony today was 10-year-old Jamie Keat (pictured below) from Hammersmith, who received the Panathlon Sporting Achievement Award in recognition of his selection for the Boccia England talent squad. And for his integral role in the Hammersmith and Fulham Panathlon Team, who qualified for their first ever London final this year.
Since taking up Panathlon Jamie's confidence in his own ability has grown and he has gone on to look for other opportunities to take part in sport. He recently joined a local boccia team and is currently their youngest member.
Jamie's Dad, Nick Keat said:
“It’s good for Jamie to have a competition like Panathlon where he’s able to shine. Jamie is a competitive boy. He may be limited by what he can do physically but when he comes to Panathlon, he certainly comes to win, not just to take part.”
Every year Panathlon provides sporting opportunities for over 7,500 young disabled children. Over 450 schools took part in Panathlon’s 115 ‘mini Paralympic’ competitions in 2014-15 competition, with more than 50,000 active hours of sport provided for disabled children to enjoy. Panathlon has also trained more than 3,000 young leaders as officials for its competitions, held across all 32 London boroughs and 27 English counties.
The Jack Petchey Foundation, sponsor of today's awards is Panathlon’s longest-serving supporter. Investing over half a million pounds in the charity’s work in London and Essex over the last 11 years. The Jack Petchey Outstanding Achievement Award was first awarded in 2009 and it has grown in size and stature every year since.
Jack Petchey CBE said:
“The young people giving their all to the Panathlon Challenge never cease to amaze me. The standards are exceptional and the way these young achievers do not let anything hold them back is nothing short of inspirational. A lesson in life to us all. We are delighted to have had such a long partnership with Panathlon and are immensely proud of what has been achieved.”
John Lewis Stratford City has been a firm supporter of Panathlon since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, when it was selected by staff as one of four local charities to support. This is the fourth annual Jack Petchey Awards ceremony to be hosted in the store’s prestigious Olympic Suite.