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Silver lining for Newham youngsters

PUBLISHED: 14:00 24 June 2015

Newham's panathlon squad face the camera with GB wheelchair rugby captain Steve Brown at the London final (pic: Andrew Fosker/Seconds Left Images)

Newham's panathlon squad face the camera with GB wheelchair rugby captain Steve Brown at the London final (pic: Andrew Fosker/Seconds Left Images)

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Panathlon squad impress in plate final

Newham youngsters tasted Olympic Park success by winning silver at the Panathlon London plate final at the Copper Box Arena.

With Team GB Paralympians watching on, the Newham team were among 175 disabled students from 22 London schools competing at the iconic London 2012 venue in the Panathlon Challenge finals.

They finished runners-­up to Brent in the multi-sport event and received their trophy from Steve Brown, Team GB’s wheelchair rugby captain at London 2012.

Newham was represented by students from Langdon, Rokeby, Eastlea Community, St Angela’s Ursuline & Royal Docks Community Schools.

Leigh Stevens, teacher at St Angela’s Ursuline School, said: ​ “The team have absolutely loved it. They’ve been looking forward to the events and they’ve been training for them. We’ve got five schools here and there’s a really nice community atmosphere. They’ve all been encouraging and supporting their team-mates, which is really nice to see.

“Normally we’re against each other within the borough, but we’ve come together. It’s great.”

The Newham team put in a consistent performance in the six events, winning gold in polybat, two silvers and a bronze to finish second overall.

Rebecca Cavanagh, 15, a pupil at Eastlea Community School, said:​ “It’s amazing. Being at the Copper Box is awe-inspiring. The whole team was really excited to come here and it’s just spurred us on to enjoy it. I didn’t really expect it to be this big, or as amazing as everybody said it was, but it is. It gives me even more of a reason to want to be in the Paralympics.”

St Angela’s Ursuline pupil Mercedes Jacdonmi, 12, added: “It’s really fun and I’m really happy to be here. We’ve been part of two competitions to get here, it’s an honour to be here. It means everything to me to take part in an event like this. I told my whole family about this and they really hoped I’d perform well. I feel very proud to represent Newham.”

Triple Paralympic medalist and Panathlon ambassador Liz Johnson added: “I love Panathlon because it gives everybody the chance to compete in sport, not just participate.

“Having the finals at the Copper Box gives the pupils something extra to aim for. I’m sure it stirred the emotions in them as it did for us making it to the Olympics and Paralympics.”


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