Little Heath student wins outstanding Panathalon award

Faizan Bidiwala receives his award from triple Paralympic medallist Liz Johnson and Ron Mills, Chair

Faizan Bidiwala receives his award from triple Paralympic medallist Liz Johnson and Ron Mills, Chair of the Jack Petchey Foundation - Credit: Andrew Fosker

A teenager was crowned the standout competitor of the year in an annual mini paralympic games ceremony this afternoon.

Faizan Bidiwala, a student at Little Heath School in Hainault Road, Little Heath, was presented with the award for his participation in the 2014 Panathalon Challenge by triple Paralympic medalist and swimmer, Liz Johnson.

The award is sponsored by the Jack Petchey Foundation which is the longest serving sponsor and partner of the challenge for the last decade.

The 16-year-old joined the school three years ago with very little English after he left Pakistan following the death of his mother.

A heart condition relating to his Down’s Syndrome meant, despite having a passion for sport, he became breathless and jaundiced after taking part.

Faizan’s confidence grew after undergoing major heart surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital three years ago and he is now a member of both the school’s cricket and boccia teams.

Danial Bidiwala, Faizan’s father, said: “I am very proud of him and very happy for him to receive this award.

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“He is a very good boy, no doubt about it. Panathlon has helped Faizan, by giving him a platform to develop. He has done very well and we are very happy about it.”

His PE teacher at Little Heath School, Jen Christensen, added: “Faizan is a true inspiration for everyone.

“His determination to succeed is outstanding and he always gives his best performance, whether in academic, sporting or vocational pursuits.”

Faizan represented the Redbridge Panathalon team at the Copper Box Area in the Olympic Park where they won the London Plate Final in June.

The Panathalon Foundation has been delivering competitive opportunities to young disabled people for 15 years.

More than 400 schools took part in 84 competitions this year and the charity accesses over 4,000 disabled young people each year.

Ms Christensen added: “He is fiercely competitive but really supports his team and is encouraging to those who are having a bad day.

“He is a great role model for his team mates and other disabled young people.

Faizan is the 6th ever winner of the Jack Petchey Outstanding Achievement Award.