The Jack Petchey Foundation is very pleased to announce that it has donated more than half a million pounds to the Panathlon Challenge.
Since their relationship began in 2004, the Foundation has donated £512,272 to provide multi-sport competitions to 10,000+ young disabled people.
This has coincided with the Foundation’s 15th anniversary celebrations at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on 15th March 2015. One of the speakers at the event was 19-year-old Adil Ghani.
Adil Ghani began his journey with Panathlon in 2007 playing Wheelchair Slalom, Boccia and Table Cricket. Competing with Marjorie McClure School, as part of the Bromley Team, he has since risen through the ranks. Adil became Bromley Team Captain in 2011 and in his last school year, his team made it to the London Final.
The event was held in the Copper Box Arena in the Olympic Park. Adil took the ‘Panathlon Oath’ on behalf of all the competitors with Liz Johnson - Panathlon Ambassador, gold medallist and oath taker at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
As Adil’s time as Captain drew to a close in 2014, he handed over the reins to the Bromley team’s Vice-Captain. “To see your team grow and replace you is rewarding but sad too as you know you’re moving on.” However, he regularly comes back to coach and inspire the next generation of Panathletes, the same way his teachers inspired him.
“My PE teacher Mr Wilkins is an inspiration. He allows the students to reach their full potential and to look beyond the daily struggles they face. A lot of people have the perception that disability and sport don't go together but programmes like Panathlon prove that they do - and they go together very well.”
Adil now uses his experiences to work as a Panathlon Ambassador, promoting the scheme and sharing his story: “People should have an understanding of what disability is, and what is achievable - despite your disability. I've started going to mainstream schools to talk about my life experience and the sports that I do, in order to show that we can compete at a higher level.”
Adil’s journey has not always been an easy one. His muscular dystrophy causes his muscles to weaken over time. “I used to be able to walk up to the age of about 9 and then I was in a full-time wheelchair. I was able to feed myself up until the age of about 15 - can't do that anymore. But you have to keep a positive attitude in all areas of life and that's what I've tried to do.”
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