Top marks for panathlon pupils

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Brighouse High School pupils helped Calderdale become the inaugural Panathlon Challenge Yorkshire champions after winning a multi-sports final involving over 70 disabled school children.

Calderdale’s team – comprising children from Brighouse High School, Ravenscliffe High School and Brooksbank School in Elland - defeated teams from Kirklees, York and Rotherham to finish first at the Energise Leisure Centre in York.

Calderdale, who also won the West Yorkshire final last year to qualify for the York event, scored 52 points, nine more than Kirklees. York were third on 40 and Rotherham fourth with 34.

Sam Chadwick, 15, from Brooksbank School, said: “I could not be more proud to win a gold medal, not just for myself, but for the whole team.”

School Games organiser for Calderdale, Colin Crowther, said: “This has been a fantastic opportunity for disabled young people and it is brilliant to see their tenaciousness, commitment and passion.”

Among the spectators was five-times Paralympian Daniel West, who had been following Panathlon’s work and was pleased to have seen the challenge first-hand.

“This is a wonderful opportunity, because the young people can start at local contests and know they can progress on to regional finals like this,“ he said.

The young athletes were inspired when they saw former Joseph Rowntree pupil Ben Robinson, 17, with the bronze medal he won for table tennis at the National Special Olympics.

Panathlon’s chief operating officer, Tony Waymouth, said: “This is a great result for all the work that the different areas of Yorkshire have done to produce a county-wide champion. We want to create tradition and rivalry so these young people can compete at another level.”

Panathlon Challenge competitions include six events: polybat, a variant of table tennis, table cricket, boccia, a Paralympic sport, new age kurling, athletics field events and athletics relay races.