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Panathlon Challenge

Press release issued: 22 March 2005

The South West Final of the popular Panathlon Challenge takes place at Bristol University's Coombe Dingle Sports Complex this week.

The South West Final of the popular Panathlon Challenge takes place at Bristol University's Coombe Dingle Sports Complex this week [ Wednesday 23 March].

Around 600 pupils from four Bristol schools and one Plymouth school will compete for the honour of being South West Panathlon Champions 2005. The winning school will go forward to represent the South West in the national Panathlon final in London in July.

The schools competing for the honour are: Brislington School; St Bede's RC School; City Academy; Whitefield School and Stoke Damerel School, Plymouth.

Bristol City Council and the University's Centre for Sport, Exercise and Health and Widening Participation Office have generously contributed to the funding of this year's Bristol event.  The event would not be possible without the trained community sport leaders, who have volunteered to help run each sport on the day, provided by the Centre for Sport, Exercise and Health's "Community Sport Volunteer Scheme" and Filton College.

The event has been running in Bristol and four other cities for several years, and continues to grow in popularity with both teachers and students.

Vince Curnock, Head of PE at St Bede's, said: "We are great fans of Panathlon, because it provides competitive sporting opportunities for a large number of our pupils across a wide range of sports.

"It is all about involvement, participation, teamwork, and learning to compete and test individual and team sporting skills against others in a framework of fair play and good sportsmanship. All schools competing will be trying to win through to the finals in London in the summer."

The range of sports involved in the event includes badminton, chess, cycling, basketball, five-a-side football, netball, table tennis, orienteering and indoor athletics.

The Panathlon Challenge is run in partnership with the Department for Education and Skills (DFES) and Sport England, who provide the strategic lead for sport in England and are responsible for delivering the Government's sporting objectives.

It has the backing of senior ministers in both the DFES and the Departments of Culture, Media and Sport, and Health.

Stephen Twigg, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the DFES, said: "The Panathlon Challenge makes a significant contribution to young people's fitness, health and enjoyment and is helping to ensure that more and more of them receive at least two hours every week of high quality PE and school sport, within and beyond the curriculum."

Seb Coe, leading London's bid for the 2012 Olympics, added:  "The Panathlon Challenge is a fantastic event giving young people an opportunity to become involved in sport and physical activity."


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