A pupil from St John’s Catholic School for the Deaf in Boston Spa has received an ‘Outstanding Achievement’ award for overcoming severe disabilities to excel at sport.
Finn Knaggs, 15, was named as the standout competitor in North Yorkshire by the charity Panathlon, which gives over 10,000 young people with disabilities and special needs every year the opportunity to take part in competitive sport.
Finn, who lives in Guiseley, has excelled in Panathlon’s boccia, football and multisport competitions, showing bravery, admirable leadership skills and empathy with his team-mates and opponents.
At just seven months old he contracted pneumococcal meningitis, which resulted in profound sensorineural hearing loss, complex epilepsy and left-side hemiplegia. Due to his disabilities, particularly his deafness, he finds academic life a challenge, but sport – has allowed him to compete alongside his peers, flourish and excel.
Panathlon events have broadened his horizons, giving him empathy and awareness of other children’s difficulties, and increased his determination and confidence in overcoming his own.
Finn said: “Panathlon makes me feel very happy and excited. I’ve got my gold medals up in my room at home.”
Finn was presented with his award at the Panathlon North Yorkshire Multisport Finals at Fulford School, York.
Abby Webster, Finn’s PE teacher at St John’s School, said: “He is a Panathlon veteran now and has been a fantastic leader at boccia and multisport events.
“Having sporting opportunities that anybody can access and being able to compete on a level playing field is a wonderful opportunity for him and all these children. We do have a school full of very competitive children, so they particularly love these events.”