14-year-old Hannah Olateju was crowned Panathlon Challenge competitor of the year at the Jack Petchey Outstanding Achievement Awards ceremony in 2013. The achievement was the latest of a long line of successes for Hannah, who lost both her arms and legs after contracting a severe form of meningitis when she was just three years old.
Teachers praised Hannah’s progress, saying that she had gained developed her confidence through participation in Panathlon. Despite her disability, she competes in table cricket, wheelchair slalom and orienteering, while last year also saw her walk on prosthetic legs in public for the first time. Hannah has also taken part in wide range of fundraising events including a Danceathon to raise money for Save the Children.
Hannah has been hailed as a true role model and inspiration for her peers, and she firmly believes that nothing is impossible if you truly apply yourself. As well as her sporting achievements, Hannah has had widespread success in the classroom as one of the top academic achievers in her year.
Panathlon Challenge founder Ashley Iceton said: “Hannah has demonstrated that her sporting ability is not hampered by her disability. She is proof of the Paralympic spirit of competing to the highest sporting level despite the obstacles that life has thrown her. She is truly inspiring.”
Paralympian gold medallist Liz Johnson said, “Hannah is amazingly inspirational to everyone around her. When you are missing limbs people can relate to that, because they can think ‘oh, how would I cope if I didn’t have a hand?’ They have an instant appreciation for her perseverance and hopefully they can take that into their lives and then be the best they can be.”
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