Welwyn Garden City pupils crowned national deaf swimming champions

PUBLISHED: 13:47 30 January 2019 | UPDATED: 13:47 30 January 2019

Knightsfield pupils and teachers celebrate after being crowned national deaf swimming champions. Picture: supplied by Panathlon.

Knightsfield pupils and teachers celebrate after being crowned national deaf swimming champions. Picture: supplied by Panathlon.

supplied by Panathlon

Pupils from Knightsfield School in Welwyn Garden City have swum to victory at an under-18 national deaf swimming championship in London.

Knightsfield pupil Haleema Hussain, part of the team that won the national under-18 deaf swimming championship. Picture: supplied by PanathlonKnightsfield pupil Haleema Hussain, part of the team that won the national under-18 deaf swimming championship. Picture: supplied by Panathlon

At the Panathlon championship yesterday (January 29), held at the London Aquatics Centre, nine teams from across England competed for the prize after qualifying at regional events.

Swimmers from Knightsfield took home the gold by a narrow three-point margin ahead of pupils from Heathlands School in St Albans.

Haleema Hussain, 15, was part of the triumphant Knightsfield team.

They won bronze in this event last year and were delighted to leap two places up the podium this time around.

GB deaf swimming squad member and Panathlon Ambassador Jessica Oaten hands the winning certificate to Knightsfield deputy head Danny Bidwell. Picture: supplied by PanathlonGB deaf swimming squad member and Panathlon Ambassador Jessica Oaten hands the winning certificate to Knightsfield deputy head Danny Bidwell. Picture: supplied by Panathlon

“I’m really proud of myself!” said Haleema. “My medal will give me such a nice memory and it will show me that I should be confident, that I can do it!

“I don’t always feel confident but here I feel normal, I feel like the people here are all the same as me. It really matters.

“When I do different activities, this will teach me not to feel nervous, just try your best and do it!

“When I get home I’m going to show my medal to my parents and they will be really happy with me.”

Knightsfield pupil Haleema Hussain, part of the team that won the national under-18 deaf swimming championship. Picture: supplied by PanathlonKnightsfield pupil Haleema Hussain, part of the team that won the national under-18 deaf swimming championship. Picture: supplied by Panathlon

Knightsfield deputy head, Danny Bidwell, said: “We’re delighted to have improved upon our performance of last year.

“This has given our kids the chance to represent the school and to have some form of competition against other school, which they rarely get to do.

“It means so much to them. And, of course, winning is a huge bonus!”

The bronze medals were taken home by Suffolk – a team combined of students from Bungay High, Thurston Community College, Priory and Stowmarket High.

Knightsfield pupil Haleema Hussain, part of the team that won the national under-18 deaf swimming championship. Picture: supplied by PanathlonKnightsfield pupil Haleema Hussain, part of the team that won the national under-18 deaf swimming championship. Picture: supplied by Panathlon

Defending champions Great Baddow, from Chelmsford in Essex, had to be content with fourth place. The event was organised by Panathlon, the charity that gives over 17,500 young disabled pupils every year the chance to engage in competitive sport.

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