Islington youngsters compete in ground-breaking London sports tournament

Laycock Primary School's team at the London Panathlon for deaf and hearing-impaired children

Laycock Primary School's team at the London Panathlon for deaf and hearing-impaired children - Credit: Archant

A group of students from Laycock Primary School took part in the inaugural London Deaf Panathlon Challenge at Sobell Leisure Centre.

The 12-strong team of boys and girls, aged between eight and 11, pitted their skills against rivals from Brent, Haringey and Hounslow in the capital’s first ever multi-sport contest specifically for deaf and hearing-impaired children.

The tournament featured the sports of boccia, new-age kurling, table cricket and polybat – a specially adapted form of table tennis – along with a series of athletic field events.

Laycock sports co-ordinator Ozzy Adeniji said: “There’s not really too much out there for deaf children and it’s really important for all kids to get the chance to play sport. It helps them come out their shell.

“To meet new kids and get to know one another and make new friends is fantastic. Panathlon helps them learn new sports that we haven’t covered before in school, so I’m learning new things myself as well.”

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The charity’s deaf programe began in November 2013 with a boccia tournament in London and has been expanding at a rapid rate since.

It will provide sporting opportunities for over 600 deaf or hearing-impaired youngsters across London, Essex, Merseyside, Yorkshire and Birmingham this year.

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Panathlon’s chief operating officer Tony Waymouth said: “The chance to participate in a team alongside peers from other schools enhances the competition and provides a raft of opportunities for these children.

“It helps them build communication, teamwork and leadership skills, while enabling them to build new friendships.”

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