April 3 - Twenty disabled children from London have beaten Usain Bolt to the finish line at the new Olympic Stadium in London – by a clear four months.
The youngsters were taking part in a Panathlon Challenge event at the 80,000-seater arena in the capital at the weekend.
Drawn from five London Boroughs, they donned their sports kits to compete in the Mayor's Race at the Gold Challenge Olympic Stadium event.
The race involved powerchair users, manual wheelchair users, lower-limb impairment runners and learning difficulty runners.
Five London Boroughs will compete in the 2012 London final of the Panathlon Challenge in Hammersmith at the Westway Sports Centre on June 14.
Jordan Andrews, of Newham, enthused: "It was fantastic to race on the Olympic track and I was confident I was going to win my race."
The event was held in conjunction with Gold Challenge – the country's only Olympic and Paralympic sport charity challenge – featuring Team GB ambassadors, celebrities and hundreds of representatives from schools and charities in London.
Competitors also had the unforgettable opportunity to take part in a special Opening Ceremony-style parade around the Olympic track with 4,000 adults and other youngsters.
Ashley Iceton, chief executive of Panathlon Challenge, said: "We can't thank Gold Challenge enough for giving the severely disabled children we work with the opportunity to compete on the Olympic and Paralympic track.
"Our Panathletes had a wonderful day and were proud to be the among the first disabled children to compete in the stadium."
The Panathlon Challenge – organised by The Panathlon Foundation and a charity partner of London Mayor Boris Johnson – provides mini-Paralympic competition for young disabled people across London.
The Mayor's 2012 Sports Legacy Programme has invested some £250,000 ($400,000/€300,000) into Panathlon in the last three years.
As part of the initiative 2,500 youngsters participated in the Panathlon Challenge last year and over 50 multisport competitions are due to take place this year.
The Panathlon Challenge – which has been benfiting young disadvantaged people since 1996 – offers free training courses, specialist equipment, coaching funds and competitions around the country.
Its event at the Olympic Stadium – built at a cost of £486 million ($777 million/€583 million) – took place a day after 5,000 runners had enjoyed the chance to be among the first people to cross the finish line at the arena following a race around the Olympic Park.
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