Fifty children from all over North Wales, who have a range of physical disabilities, competed for medals at a sporting charity's inaugural competition in Wales.
Coleg Llandrillo's Rhos-on-Sea campus was the venue for the first Panathlon event outside of England. Seven teams from five different schools took part, with Ysgol Pendalar in Caernarfon taking the honour of becoming the first ever Welsh Panathlon gold medallists.
Panathlon is a charity that provides sporting opportunities to over 17,500 disabled young competitors every year. Over 1,000 schools across the UK take part in 'mini paralympic', multi-sport competitions (for secondary or primary school children), along with dedicated football, boccia and swimming programmes.
The day centred on the paralympic event, boccia, which is a precision ball sport and is related to bowls and pétanque. The sport is contested at local, national and international levels by athletes with severe physical disabilities.
Panathlon has in the last few years trained thousands of young leaders aged 14-19, who act as sports officials during its competitions. The charity's 'young leaders' on the day included Coleg Llandrillo Sports students Sophie King and Nia Pepper (both from Rhyl) and Emily Davies from Llandudno Junction, who are all studying on the BTEC Level 3 Sports Coaching and Fitness course. This event will go towards the students' Community Sports Leaders Award (volunteering).
One of the day's 'young leaders' reflected:
It was a joy to see so many children totally involved. They were far more competitive than I thought they would be. All in all, this was a great experience for us.
Coleg Llandrillo Sports tutor, Ali Barber, said:
Next year, the students will be required to deliver a PE curriculum (as part of their course) at some of the schools that were here today, so having the chance to work with children with disabilities will give the students added confidence.
Iola Jones, teacher of the victorious Ysgol Pendalar team, said:
What a great event, the children couldn't wait to represent their school today and to win was icing on the cake!
Ray, a pupil at Ysgol Gogarth, said:
There are lots of different games to play that we had never seen before. It was amazing to compete against other schools.
Speaking at the event, Tony Waymouth, Panathlon's chief operating officer, said:
This is a momentous day for the charity, our first day ever benefiting children with disabilities and special needs outside of England. It is great to see so many children representing their schools for the first time.
The college students have been fantastic throughout the whole day. They have all shown that they have an abundance of patience and empathy, as all the school pupils have been totally engaged. We would like to thank the college for giving its full support.
The trophies and medals were presented by special guest Andrew Williams, Coleg Llandrillo's rugby co-ordinator and captain of the RGC North Wales rugby team.
To find out more about our courses in Sport, please call the college's Learner Services team on 01492 542 338 or visit www.gllm.ac.uk/sport